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Canada Games Plaza rink decision moved to budget talks


City council has delayed a on decision on whether to decommission the ice plant for the outdoor rink at Canada Games Plaza.

At the urging of Coun. Garth Frizzell, council moved the decision to its January 29 budget meeting. In a report to council city general manager of community services Rob Whitwham recommended decommissioning the plant.

The ammonia plant in Canada Games Plaza was built in 1994 as part of the overall development of the Prince George Civic Centre and Civic Plaza. The plant first became operational in the winter of 1995 to provide seasonal outdoor skating for the general public.

The ice plant equipment, however, is getting old and since the tragedy in Fernie where three men were killed due to what is suspected to be a faulty ammonia plant, no one wants to push an ammonia plant past its time.

The City is facing roughly $610,000 in maintenance and capital costs if there is a desire to continue to offer public skating.

“It is recommended that council approves the decommissioning of the ammonia plant while still preserving the skating rink in the short term so that the facility can be utilized for recreation purposes similarly to the 20 other outdoor weather dependent community based skating rinks that don’t require an ammonia plant for their operation,” Whitwham said in his report. “By moving in this direction, the city could still maintain a service to the community while reducing costs and potential risk. This could also provide the opportunity to repurpose the Plaza into a permanent year round outdoor event space.”

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