British Columbia

Campbell River ice rink first in B.C. to switch from ammonia to CO2 refrigeration

A community on Vancouver Island is set to be the first ice rink in B.C. to make the switch from using ammonia to a carbon dioxide system.

After the tragedy in Fernie, B.C., the Campbell River community started looking for safer solutions

The recreation complex will be switching both of its rinks from ammonia to CO2 refrigeration because it says the system is safer and requires less inspection. (Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex/Facebook)

A community on Vancouver Island is set to be the first ice rink in B.C. to make the switch from using ammonia to a carbon dioxide system.

After three workers died in a Fernie, B.C., ice rink due to an ammonia leak last year, Campbell River's Strathcona Regional District says it started searching for a safer solution.

The Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex has two rinks which will both be converted to utilize the CO2 refrigeration technology, according to Gavin Hamblin, the manager of arenas and facility operations.

The district was given a provincial grant of $4.6 million for an energy recovery project at the facility.

"We're able to look at options to do a holistic approach … and CO2 is something that will enable us to do that, capture as much energy as possible from both the ice plants and use it in other areas of the facility," Hamblin told On The Island's Gregor Craigie.

He said this system will be much safer because while ammonia gas is poisonous and fast acting, CO2 is classified as an asphyxiant and is only harmful in high concentrations.

Rinks in Ontario and Quebec currently use CO2 and Hamblin said Alberta and the Yukon are in the process of converting some of their facilities.

The system is being designed and engineered, and he expects the pre-fabricated parts to arrive for installation by the annual spring-summer rink closure.

With files from On The Island

To hear the full interview listen to media below:

After three workers died in a Fernie, B.C. ice rink due to an ammonia leak last year, Campbell River's Strathcona Regional District started thinking about a safer solution. 6:40

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