The City of Fernie says its Memorial Arena will not be ready to host spring events, but is still hopeful the facility will reopen for the 2018/2019 winter season.
The arena has been closed since last October when an ammonia leak killed three men.
In a release, the City says contractors have mitigated safety concerns since they regained access to the arena in January.
Several community groups, including the local rod and gun club and Fernie Secondary School, have approached the City requesting to hold annual functions at Memorial arena, however it has been determined the facility will not be available due to the scope of work that must be complete.
“Our priority is to get the arena up and running in time for the 2018/19 winter season and we still have a lot of work to do to achieve our goal,” explained City of Fernie CAO Norm McInnis in a release. “We had hoped that we might be in a position to allow some of these user groups to use the facility for these annual community events, but we’ve let these groups know that unfortunately this won’t be possible without significantly impacting our timeline to get all the necessary work done to open the arena this fall.”
Several user groups, including the KIJHL’s Fernie Ghostriders, were forced to find ice times outside the community this past winter.
The City says over the spring and summer the community can expect to see significant construction at the arena.
A replacement refrigeration plant is expected to be in place by August, with staff training to take place in the following month.