Thawing permafrost forces closure of Dawson City's rec centre
The building was designed to stand on permafrost, which is now melting
Most of the Art and Margaret Fry Recreational Centre in Dawson City, Yukon has been closed down because of thawing permafrost under the building's foundation.
Permafrost underneath the structure is believed to have melted since last fall and key parts of the building might not be able to withstand strong winds or an earthquake, professional engineer Kitty Leung wrote in a memo to the community.
"Considering the uncertainty of the structural performance under the deteriorated soil conditions and in the interests of occupant safety, we recommend partial closure of the facility until further structural analyses can be performed," Leung said.
The municipality closed the hockey rink, the curling rink, the curling lounge and the second floor of the administration building in response to the recommendations. But the first floor of the administration will remain open.
The closed areas are expected to be shut for the month of August — and possibly longer.
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"The next step would be to get more information," said Trina Buhler, the municipality's project manager. "The City of Dawson has requested more geotechnical information from Tetra Tech and another soil survey from Chilkoot in early September."
Thawing permafrost has affected the building before. The permafrost is at its most-melted state in September.
With files from Mike Rudyk