RDCK assures public its arenas are safe

In response to Fernie disaster, community complex will be re-inspected

In a news release late last week, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) stated that it understands that the public may have some questions regarding the operation of its arenas following the tragedy at the Fernie arena in which three people died following an ammonia leak.

The news release stated that:

• RDCK arenas are staffed by qualified and trained operators as per the Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation under the provincial Safety Standards Act.

• RDCK Arenas in Nelson (including the Civic Centre), Castlegar and Creston have been risk-assessed by the Provincial Safety Authority.

• The refrigeration plant rooms in each of these facilities are isolated from the rest of the building.

• The plant rooms are monitored 24/7, alarmed, operated through direct digital control, and designed to discharge an ammonia leak to the atmosphere to ensure that the ammonia is dispersed in a safe manner.

• Refrigeration systems have code-required safety procedures that are designed to ensure safe operation of equipment.

• The RDCK has a robust safety program including regular maintenance by qualified refrigeration contractors.

• The Pioneer Arena in Castlegar does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Safety Standards Act due to a smaller refrigeration plant size. However, the chiller has been recently replaced, the plant room has had safety improvements, regular maintenance is performed, and safeties are in place on the refrigeration plant.

In response to the incident in Fernie, RDCK staff is reviewing safety procedures and having all arena facilities re-inspected by a third party. The RDCK will address any recommendations from the investigations by Worksafe BC and the BC Safety Authority.

The news release concludes with the assertion that the RDCK is confident that its facilities are safe.

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