New curling rink chiller purchase on council's agenda

Fort St. John city council will consider awarding a $78,000 sole-sourced contract on Monday to replace a broken ice chiller and rescue this year's curling season.

City staff are recommending council approve the contract to Yeti Refrigeration of Prince George.

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"The failure of the chiller at the Fort St. John Curling Club occurred well before its anticipated service life however there is an opportunity to replace this system with a more resilient unit in time to provide some remaining season for the Curling Club," writes CAO Milo MacDonald in an Oct. 26 report to council.

The Fort St. John Curling Club was set to begin its 2020-21 season this week when it received some disheartening news: Around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 17, the compressors and condensers in the building's ice plant went down.

An emergency HVAC technician was able to get the plant running again Sunday morning, but a refrigeration technician doing a follow-up inspection on Tuesday discovered a leak in the chiller, and that Freon was leaking into the brine.

The decision was made to shut down the ice plant.

"Since safety of our staff and patrons is our first and foremost priority, we have decided to shut down the plant and not go on with our curling season this year," General Manager Emily Furlot said earlier this week.

Furlot said the plant was installed four years ago, but the warranty expired after a year.

As the city owns the building and ice plant, the matter of the plant being repaired and replaced must go through council.

The report to council notes the "chiller had rusted and while only low levels of Freon gas were released, it is not viable to repair the chiller, therefore, the equipment has to be replaced."

"The timing of this equipment failure may be detrimental to the FSJ Curling Club," writes recreation director Karin Carlson.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca. 

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