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 October 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 Oct. 20 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," said General Manager Emily Furlot in a news release.
Furlot said the plant was installed four years ago, but the warranty expired after a year.
As the City of Fort St. John owns the building and ice plant, the matter of the plant being repaired and replaced must go through council. The cost for the repair is estimated at $60,000, and was not budgeted.
"We are hopeful that council will approve the funding for the replacement, but we ask that the community speaks out on our behalf, to show council that there is a demand for this facility within the community," said Furlot.
Furlot said the matter will be presented to council in November, and the best case scenario is the plant would be repaired in time for the club to hold a shortened season in January.
But there's a real possibility of there being no curling at all this season.
Furlot said the club's plan is to keep the building open. The Fort St. John Soccer Club is going ahead with its plan to construct a wall and use half of the surface for a futsal pitch, and is hoping to begin using the facility in November.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.