They are actually called ice resurfacers, and the Frontenac Community Arena Board has decided to replace their aging 2000 Olympia M propane powered model with a 2019 Engo Wolf Electric model.
As arena manager, Tim Laprade explained in his report to the board concerning the replacement that the initial cost of the Engo Wolf is much higher than a 2018 Olympia M - $165,000 as compared to $98,000. However, when the projected operational costs over the 16 year estimate lifespan of the two machines are factored in, the Engo Wolf at $211,000 is a cheaper option as compared to the Olympia M at $292,000.
The main saving is in the cost of electricity for the Engo Wolf: $6,000 per year, compared to the propane costs of the Olympia: $38,000 per year.
“We will actually use less electricity for ice-resurfacing with the Engo Wolf than we do now, because we need to run electrical fans at ice level to blow the fumes out of the building when the Olympia is running. We won’t need to power those fans anymore with the electric model.”
Laprade said that the air quality and overall environmental impact of the electric resurfacer are more important factors than the cost savings.
“The propane fumes are heavier than air, so they remain at ice level if we don’t ventilate, right where children are skating. Arena air quality is regulated, and we meet the standards, but with no fumes to clear out and no potential leaks from propane tanks to worry about, air quality is safeguarded with an electric machine,” he said.
The Engo Wolf also has a better blade system than the Olympia, and will save staff time changing blades on the machine- a weekly or even twice weekly one-hour job that will be all but eliminated, Laprade added. The new machine, which is scheduled for delivery in time for the September opening of the arena, will make the Frontenac Arena one of the few small rural arenas to make the leap to a modern, cleaner technology, according to Laprade.
The ice resurfacer purchase will be followed by larger arena upgrades in 2020 and 2021, when the floor and the refrigeration systems are due for replacement.
“Both of those are 45 years old and at the end of their useful lives. Replacing them will put the arena on a good footing,” he said.
The purchase was approved by the arena board last week, to be funded by the arena reserve fund. The arena is jointly owned by South and Central Frontenac, and is overseen by a board that is made up of appoints by the South and Central Frontenac township councils.
Laprade’s report to the arena board was included in the agenda for the South Frontenac Council meeting this week, as an information item.