| Mar 06, 2019

There are some big changes coming to the Frontenac Community Arena, beginning with a new ice resurfacer, says Arena Manager Tim Laprade.

“Our old one (a 2000 Olympia Millennium Propane model purchased used in 2002) is 19 years old and definitely past its ‘best before’ date,” Laprade said. “The new one, an Engo Red Wolf, is electric and we expect to have it in place for September when the season starts.”

Laprade said they are also looking at upgrading the benches and boards in 2020 and replacing the ammonia refrigeration system and outdoor condenser unit in 2021.

He said the new resurfacer has two major advantages.

“Being electric, there are no carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide emissions, which means not only will players and people in the stands not be breathing them, but it means we won’t have to run the ceiling fans while the unit is running,” Laprade said. “That leads to savings from the energy costs of running the fans and the fact that the fans are removing cooler, drier air, meaning the refrigeration unit won’t have to work as hard.

“The second advantage is much lower life-cycle costs.”

Laprade estimates that going electric will save about $80,000 over the life cycle of the resurfacer (about 16 years).

“There are some other advantages also in that this machine is significantly quieter than a propane unit,” he said. “The noise of the resurfacer running isn’t something people usually think about but it will be quite different in here in between periods.”

He said the new unit also features “click-blade” technology, allowing blades to be swapped out in minutes rather than the hour and a half the job used to take.

“Arena staff will be pleased that they don’t have to come in two hours early to do that job,” he said. “I tried it out myself on a demo unit and blades can easily be swapped out between periods.

“It’s a question of safety and time and I’m extremely pleased that we’ll have advanced ice-making capabilities and improved ice quality.

“We’ll be one of the few smaller arenas with an electric resurfacer and already I’ve had inquiries from people wanting to come see it.”

The cost of the new unit is $165,000 but Ontario Hydro has confirmed a grant of $2,813 for switching to electric. Also, the minor hockey organization has committed to a contribution of an estimated $3,000 for advertising rights to put their logos on the machine.

He said they’ve submitted a grant application to the Trillium Foundation for a grant to cover up to 75 per cent of the remaining $159,187 costs. In any event, there are reserve funds slated to cover these costs.

As far as the other renovations go, Laprade said those replacements are scheduled under the asset management plan.

“We’re looking at a new floor and there are hundreds of kilometres of refrigeration lines under the ice,” he said. “If one of those go, we could potentially lose the entire system.

“It’s one of those things that keeps me up at nights.

“But once 2021 is done, we’re good for another 20 years.”

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