Future of Fairview Arena unknown after roof collapse, demolition

Fairview Arena is undergoing a systematic forensic demolition, as workers try to determine piece-by-piece what led to the collapse of the southeast Calgary arena's roof on Feb. 20.

Arena is undergoing forensic demolition to determine cause

The Fairview Arena is undergoing a systematic forensic demolition to determine what caused the building's roof to collapse. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Fairview Arena is undergoing a systematic forensic demolition, as workers try to determine piece-by-piece what led to the collapse of the southeast Calgary arena's roof on Feb. 20.

"It's taking it down in pieces, trying to determine the cause of the collapse," said Meghan Payne, who is a manager with Calgary Recreation.

Payne said demolition will likely go on for several weeks, and that the city is working with tenants to accommodate them in the interim.

The arena, which was built in 1972, was home to the Fairview Women's Hockey Arena Society and the In-Definite Arts Society, a group that provides programming for 250 artists with developmental disabilities.

Brad Cowan has been playing shinny at the Fairview Arena every Friday afternoon for more than a dozen years. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Brad Cowan would normally be lacing up his skates for a game of shinny on a Friday afternoon, but instead he was watching as the building's walls were torn down.

"We have three generations that were playing here," Cowan said. "I was definitely a rink rat, my sons too, and now my grandson."

Cowan said he's been playing shinny at the arena for more than a dozen years, and that he and friends often held games to benefit the food bank or veterans' groups. 

For now they're playing at Cardel Rec South, then finishing off the year at the Trico Centre before they look for a new place to play.

'A lot of history to that rink'

"We do want to come back ... to have a nice new rink would be fantastic," Cowan said. "It's pretty sad."

"There's a lot of history to that rink and it would be great to have it back."

The future of the rink is still unknown. 

"The conversation around insurance and about finding money to replace a much needed community facility is ongoing and I hope we'll have something to say about that in the next few weeks," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

The Fairview Arena was deemed structurally unsafe by city engineers and the fire department the day before the collapse. 

Workers will be slowly demolishing the Fairview Arena over the next few weeks. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Since the collapse, the city has been working to inspect approximately 40 arenas that were built between 1960 and 1980. 

As of Friday, 20 arenas had been inspected and no threats to public safety were found, said Marco Civitarese, the city's manager of building regulations. 

The remaining facilities will be inspected next week. 

With files from Terri Trembath