NIAGARA FALLS – Just three years old, the Gale Centre arena complex in Niagara Falls is already in need of significant maintenance work.
In a report to be presented to city council tonight, staff are recommendning the Gale Centre be shut down for three-to-five weeks this summer to complete urgent repairs to the mechanical plant, which were identified by a consulting firm brought in to troubleshoot problems.
According to the report, “glycol” piping installed throughout the facility to provide heating, cooling and ice-surface refrigeration is leaking into public spaces, corridors, utility rooms and mechanical spaces.
The remedial work will include repairing and tigtening joints on some 2,600 feet of heat pump piping and 2,000 feet of heating water piping.
This project must be done as soon as possible at an estimated cost of $150,000.
In order to undertake the work, a “full shut down of the Gale Centre must be implemented,” the report reads in part.
As there are bookings at the Gale Centre during the proposed shutdown period this summer, the cost in terms of lost revenue for a three-week period is estimated at $44,300.
The impact to users and on the budget can be mitigated somewhat by installing ice at the Chippawa arena during the shutdown. This move could accommodate 55 per cent of ice rentals and reduce the lost revenue projection to $19,400.
The consulting firm hired to conduct an energy audit at the Gale Centre also identified higher than needed costs.
The company is recommending “additional modifications to the equipment and procedures to improve energy efficiency of the Gale Centre.”
The estimated cost of this second phase of work – which is less urgent and can be put off to 2014 if council wishes – is $218,000.
This remedial work, however, could result in annual utility bill savings of $87,000.
Staff plan to meet with representative of spring/summer ice user groups on Wednesday to inform them of the maintenance plan and revised ice-time schedule.
Council is expected to deliberate on the staff report tonight.
The Gale Centre opened in 2010 at a cost of $38 million.
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