Work is required to bring the refrigeration plant at the Nelson Curling Club up to current safety standards. The club has asked the RDCK to take over operation of the plant. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson Curling Club’s refrigeration plant in need of repairs

The club wants the RDCK to take over the plant’s operations

The Nelson Curling Club is raising a red flag about its on-site refrigeration plant, saying its members aren’t qualified to operate it.

Inspections by WorkSafe BC and Technical Safety BC found the plant to be non-compliant and in need of updated safety documentation, as well as repairs.

Club president Gordon Wiess says there’s no immediate danger of an ammonia leak such as the one in Fernie that killed three people in October 2017. But he’s asked the Regional District of Central Kootenay to take over operations of the plant, something he thinks the club should never have been in charge of in the first place.

“The operation of the plant, as you can imagine, is a fairly technical process that requires expertise, particularly because [ammonia is] known to be a dangerous material,” said Wiess.

“I think it’s come to the point now, especially with the exposure and the attention it’s getting, it’s become apparent there are significant responsibilities and liabilities if anything should happen. As a volunteer organization, we feel we’re not confident and we’re not willing to carry that liability because we don’t have the same expertise that the RDCK has.”

The club’s building is actually owned by the City of Nelson, but Wiess said the club reached out to the RDCK because it has staff operating in the adjacent Nelson and District Community Complex who are experienced at operating and maintaining refrigeration plants.

A preliminary report made public at Tuesday’s recreation commission meeting estimated it would cost the regional district $16,973 to operate the facility.

Seven WorkSafe BC orders include items such as an ammonia refrigeration risk assessment, ammonia monitoring, alarms and an evacuation plan.

Technical Safety BC meanwhile found evidence of corrosion at the plant, combustible material in the machinery room, improper location of emergency shutdown and fan switches, and vestibule doors that are placed incorrectly.

Wiess said the club plans on paying for the plant’s upgrades, which he estimated will cost $20,000 and need to be completed by next spring.

“We’re trying our best to get money together to pay for all these things so that if we do turn the plant over to the RDCK, then we’re turning over a healthy plant,” said Wiess.

It’s unclear which party would be liable if an ammonia leak were to occur at the building. The curling club built the rink in 1973, sold it to the city in 1994 and stayed on as a tenant under a 20-year lease. That lease, however, expired in 2014 and was not renewed.

The faulty plant is the latest in a series of setbacks for the club.

An effort to find funding for a proposed concrete floor that would allow the club to operate in the off-season failed. Then, last December the club revealed a $33,160 deficit and told the city it could no longer afford to stay open under the current arrangement.

Related:

City of Fernie responds to investigation report

RDCK to update rec centre following Fernie tragedy

Future of Nelson Curling Club in jeopardy



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Traffic finally eases along Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists were stuck for up to six hours in ferry lineups over the weekend

Nelson climbers raise racism awareness with video

Tula and Tosh Sherkat and Rossland director Liam Barnes collaborated on the video

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Sexologist likens face mask debate to condom debate: What can we learn from it?

Society’s approach to condom usage since the 1980s can be applied to face masks today, one expert says

Most Read