Gananoque officials hope they will be able to open the Gord Brown Memorial/Canada 150 rink for ice skating sometime in the new year, but no official date has been announced.
Some things to get the rink finally up and running are still in the works, including contracted services to do the work scheduled for the near future and upgrades for the refrigeration system.
Doug Wark, manager of community services said officials are "excited for the opportunity," but there hasn't been an official opening date set for the rink yet, as there are too many complications to sort out first, including ensuring the ice plan works, making sure the refrigeration system is functional and fixing up the boards and glass.
"Assuming all that goes well, we’ve set a target date for mid-January," he added.
According to Wark, town staff isn't sure what will be done to the concrete slab, but there may be maintenance work done to repair the cracking and other issues.
The town recently made the problems with the memorial rink public following a year-old report by independent expert Roney Engineering, which stated the concrete rink slab is exhibiting other defects beyond just cracking, including both drying and plastic shrinkage cracking, rust staining, other discolouration, roughness and trowel marks.
Wark said fixing the concrete slab surface is more of a summer problem when the rink will be used for activities like rollerblading and other warm-weather sports. He understands, from speaking with experts, that the surface defects shouldn't affect the ice for the winter season.
"At this point we are aware of all the problems," said Wark, adding officials will be looking into a solution more into the spring time and the plan is to use the rink as best they can for the ice.
Town staffers are continuing to explore the option of putting some type of epoxy sealant to repair the surface, but "we haven't committed to anything yet," said Wark.
The report by Roney Engineering says the defects of the rink warrant the replacement of the slab, and that patching current and future cracks over the years could cost the town about $20,000 to $30,000 annually.
"There's no question that the rink will be open; it's the timing," said Dennis O’Connor, town councillor and member of the Tourism Advisory Panel (TAP).
Reports written by former manager of community services Kari Lambe indicate that the refrigeration upgrade was estimated at $550,000 and the necessary electrical service upgrade contract was awarded at $214,791.
(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times