Nova Scotia

Equipment-destroying fog at Truro rink about to fade away

Two municipalities and the federal government are putting up about $532,000 to replace the dehumidification system at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

'We’re going to see a huge improvement'

A Halifax Mooseheads exhibition game against the Charlottetown Islanders at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in August 2015 had to be cancelled because of the indoor fog. (David Chan/Halifax Mooseheads)

A thick blanket of indoor fog that's cancelled games and corrodes equipment at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre rink in Truro, N.S., will soon disappear — thanks to an influx of money from the federal government, the town of Truro and municipality of Colchester County.

The two municipalities and the federal government are putting up about $532,000 to replace the dehumidification system at the four-year-old community centre and get rid of the fog. 

The federal government is paying for half of that total through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. It is also putting forward money to help the centre host the 2017 World Junior A Hockey Challenge. 

The new dehumidification system is expected to arrive in early May and be installed a few weeks later. The fog inside the centre has been eating away at equipment.

"We've had to make three separate repairs to our score clock within the building because, again, sweating and corrosion on the electrical components in there, it caused failures to that," said Mike Dolter, the chief administrative officer for the Town of Truro.  

"We're seeing a lot of rust accumulating on some of the pipes in the ceiling."     

Too much moisture damages building

If left untreated, all that moisture could decrease the lifespan of the building, according to Matt Moore, the centre's general manager.

Not good news for a centre that only opened four years ago.  

The new dehumidification system should eliminate the fog. (David Chan/Halifax Mooseheads)

"It's a $55-million asset and, you know, we want to maintain the proper air conditioning to decrease future rust, mould and all those issues that might arise if this weren't addressed," said Moore.  

Fog hockey

The fog has also been an inconvenience for hockey players and spectators. At times the fog has been so bad players had to be removed from the ice because they couldn't see their opponents. 

The Halifax Mooseheads were in that situation when they played the Charlottetown Islanders in a pre-season game in August 2015. 

The game had to be called off in the middle of the first period because players couldn't see what they were doing. 

Dehumidification system too small

The fog is being caused by a dehumidification system that is far too small for the building.   

"The system should have been able to take out about 800 pounds of moisture an hour. The one that was actually installed when the facility was originally built only took out 80 pounds," said Dolter.  

The new dehumidification system will also make the quality of the ice better, according to Moore. (www.ratheastlinkcommunitycentre.ca)

When the weather outside warms up and the humidity increases, fog develops around the ice. No one with the town knows why such a small dehumidification system was installed, said Dolter. 

He speculates that when the building was in the design stage organizers didn't account for the facility having an ice surface down for 12 months of the year. So they installed a smaller dehumidification system that couldn't handle running in warmer weather.  

Ice quality will get better

The new dehumidification system will also increase the quality of the rink's ice, allowing the centre to host the 2017 World Junior A Hockey Challenge.

A news release sent out by the federal government states that the event has generated $3 million worth of economic benefits for host communities. "We're going to see a huge improvement," said Moore.

"Everything from, like I say, the minor hockey teams that frequent our ice right up to the concertgoer who comes into our facility and expects to have a dry cool environment. It's going to be a win all around," said Moore.

now