Energy Efficiency Upgrade is Underway at Strathcona Gardens
Two ice surfaces and mechanical & electrical building components are currently in the process of a complete upgrade. The new CO2 refrigeration plants, high efficiency boilers, domestic hot water tanks , air handling units and associated electrical work are part of the 4.6 million Energy Efficiency Upgrade Project (EEUP) funded through the Federal Gas Tax Fund.
With today’s concern for the environment, energy efficiency and safety, CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) is now recognized as a much superior option over other synthetic refrigerants for these purposes. CO2 is a natural, non-toxic, non-flammable with low global warming potential and zero ozone deplete potential.
The switch out from an ammonia-based refrigeration system to a CO2 made the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex the first facility in the province to make this conversion.
EEU Project FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the current phase and timelines of the EEU Project?
Currently we are in Phase 3 of Construction:
- Phase 1- Refrigeration CO2 Plants | Completed
- Design & procurement April 2019
- Construction winter 2019
- Phase 2 – Energy Upgrade to Boilers & Hot Water Tanks| Completed
- Design & procurement June 2019
- Construction fall of 2019
- Phase 3 – Energy Upgrade to Three Air Handling Units & Dehumidifier for Arena 2
- Completed design & procurement winter 2019
- Currently in construction phase, to be completed winter 2020
- Phase 4 – Energy Upgrade to Pool Air Handling Units & Ice Melting Pit
- To be determined
Has COVID-19 affected the timeline of Phase 3?
Yes. COVID-19 has posed many challenges to the timeline of the EEU project including the schedule of work and the acquisition of equipment, materials and other construction supplies.
The timeline for Phase 3 prior to COVID-19 saw the Arena #2 work proceeding prior to the ice going in, in August 2020. However, when business operations came to a halt, as a result of the global pandemic, significant challenges arose that affected the pre-established timeline. This includes the planned arrival of the new dehumidifier unit for Arena #2, as delivery is now delayed until the end of October 2020 and installation and commissioning will be taking place into November 2020.
In order to better access the demand and amount of ice hours required as a result of COVID-19, Strathcona Gardens staff requested all user groups to provide an update on their return to the ice and what that would involve based on current conditions. As an example, Strathcona Gardens’ largest user group, the Minor Hockey Association, is seeing their hours increase based on the requirements of running smaller groups.
What alternatives were considered to meet user group needs during the delay?
The only way of accommodating all the 2020 fall season ice requirements meant opening Arena #2 using similar protocols already in place for the active ice rink on Arena #1 (the Rod Brind’Amour arena).
To achieve this, repair of the existing dehumidifier was needed at a cost of $20,000 while waiting on the new dehumidifier’s delayed arrival. A decision to pursue this path forward was reviewed by the Strathcona Gardens Commission in order to offer Minor Hockey the additional hours required to meet their operational needs under their new COVID-19 restrictions. It would also have allowed the facility to resume community recreation programming and services under the physical distancing requirements.
There were several factors that determined the best path forward was to mitigate future loss of ice time by performing all the work upfront. The option to repair the existing dehumidifier in Arena #2, keeping the ice floor on schedule for September, ran into significant project schedule challenges including:
- Procurement of a backup dehumidifier – a required safety measure with no guarantees on the backup dehumidifier meeting the arena’s needs
- Repair period – resulting in loss of access
- Prepping ice round 1 – staff need time to get the rink ready to receive user groups and the public
- Ice removal – once the new equipment arrives in October the ice would need to be cleared away before installation work is completed
- Installation period – resulting in loss of access
- Preparing ice round 2 – staff would then need additional time to get the rink ready again to receive user groups and the public
The decision not to move forward with an interim repair ensures the least amount of access loss to the arena overall, for ice rink user groups and our vulnerable population currently accessing Arena #2. This includes facility-based programs related to the Island Health partnership for support of chronic disease management and the “Take Heart” program.
How will public and user groups be affected by the delay of Arena #2’s ice rink season?
Strathcona Gardens truly understands the impact this delayed ice floor opening is having on its community members. Because of this, staff are working diligently with the EEU project team on any efficiencies that can be established in the weeks ahead. Some work is currently underway now at the forefront of the new equipment arrival and installation. This rooftop and building infrastructure work are being pushed ahead of schedule, in an effort to minimize loss of access during the fall/winter ice rink season.
Staff will also be looking into all options to maximize the opportunities on the Rod Brind’Amour Arena and will closely follow what is happening with schools as it relates to COVID-19 and student schedules. It’s recognized that all of this impacts the operation of the ice and programming for user groups too.
Kids, especially, have been hit hard by this and we whole-heartedly empathize. This has been a difficult time for everyone, but the decision to await the new equipment is ultimately best for optimal arena access, resources and time, and for the longer-term gain to our infrastructure down the road.
How will Strathcona Gardens determine priority for user groups for one active arena?
Staff are working closely on the schedule and looking at options within the ice allocation policy to best serve the community through this difficult time. We understand that it is going to require adjustments and collaborative work with the users and recognizing that no situation is going to be ideal under these circumstances.
Will Strathcona Gardens extend the operating time of the Rod Brind’Amour arena to accommodate user group priorities?
Staff are looking at all options with the users that have a COVID-19 safety plan in place to return to the ice for the fall. Once users have submitted their plans, staff can discuss scheduling options given all the new protocols that are in place to operate the arena through the pandemic.
What is the Strathcona Gardens Commission?
The Strathcona Gardens Commission is a group of individuals who are appointed by the Regional Board to make recommendations on such matters as capital improvements, as well as programs and services offered to the public at the Strathcona Gardens recreational facility. The Commission comprises 5 individuals representing various constituencies served by the Strathcona Gardens:
- City of Campbell River
- Commissioner Andy Adams (Chair)
- Commissioner Michele Babchuk
- Commissioner Colleen Evans
- Electoral Area D (Oyster Bay-Buttle Lake)
- Commissioner Brenda Leigh
- Commissioner Cal Grunerud
The Strathcona Gardens Commission has been working closely with the SRD’s project manager Wolfang Parada on strategic decisions for the EEU project.
What contractors were awarded the bid to replace the dehumidifier and air handling units?
The successful proponent for the air handling units and the dehumidifier is Nelson Roofing and Sheet Metal Ltd.
Questions or more information on Strathcona Garden’s Energy Efficiency Upgrade Project?
Please contact Wolfang Parada, EEU Project Manager
250-830-6709 or firstname.lastname@example.org