Although the District of Houston was aiming to reopen the Claude A. Parish Memorial Arena by Oct. 29, district staff have now confirmed that the arena will reopen on Nov. 3, 2018.
With the ammonia refrigeration plant successfully started on Oct. 22, arena staff are now preparing the ice surface for the upcoming hockey season.
The Houston Minor Hockey Association (MHA) has been sending players to practice in Burns Lake while they wait for the arena to reopen.
“We know this is not ideal, but we are thankful to the town of Burns Lake for accommodating us,” wrote the Houston MHA on their Facebook page last month.
Meanwhile the District of Houston has been addressing outstanding safety concerns with the current 40-year-old ammonia refrigeration plant. Certified refrigeration mechanics have been inspecting the plant to identify any possible repairs.
While the district had planned to replace the refrigeration plant this year, after reviewing the proposals submitted earlier this month council decided not to proceed with the replacement in 2018.
All submissions were over budget and did not include costs for renovating the existing plant room, according to the district, which set aside $750,000 for this project.
“It’s unfortunate to see the numbers come in so high,” said Houston Mayor Shane Brienen earlier this month. “But this gives the engineers more time to review the design and make sure that the facility is safe to use for our staff and the public.”
“We’ll be looking closely at the numbers and making sure that this project is ready to go in 2019 so we can replace the refrigeration plant next year,” he continued, adding that safety is the district’s number one priority.
Curling season’s start date remains unclear
According to the District of Houston, it is likely that Houston will have a curling season this year, but the start date remains unclear.
The curling rink’s refrigeration plant failed an inspection earlier this year by Technical Safety B.C. Following the inspection failure, the Houston Curling Club approached the district hoping to connect the curling rink to the arena’s ammonia refrigeration plant.
Houston’s Chief Administrative Officer Gerald Pinchbeck said the district plans to complete this connection in 2018.
“It is a matter of finding a qualified contractor to complete the work in a timely manner,” he said last week, adding that the district is still in the planning stages for this project.