There’s an old prank call that involves the prankster ringing up and asking if one’s refrigerator is running and then suggesting that one go after it to prevent its flight. We take for granted that our appliances have been engineered for durability and safety and will operate reliably and continually so that we can enjoy the products of their labours.  The trust our machines is maintained by the proactive replacement of components according to a prescribed schedule.

To this end, the rink portion of the Streetsville Arena in Memorial Park is scheduled to close from April 15, to approximately August 15, 2019.  The purpose of the closure is so that a completely new refrigeration system for the ice surface can be installed.  Every part, from the brine header (under the floor behind the boards at the north end of the rink) to the pumping room, will be removed and replaced.  The header supplies the 51,000 feet of pipe that lies under the rink base and keeps the water nicely frozen even with the hottest summer weather.

The existing refrigeration unit was installed in 1993 and has reached the end of its service life.  While there have not been any incidents similar to the tragic one in Fernie, B.C., it’s important to stay ahead of any possible equipment failures.  After 26 years it’s no wonder that components are not what they once were.  Further, improvements have been made to the design of such systems.  The new one also includes a better dehumidifier and a sanitary sewage system.  Its capacity will be increased from the current 50 tons to 60-65 tons.

At a cost in the neighbourhood of $860,000, the upgrade is a significant investment in the continued success of the Vic Johnston Community Centre’s operation. The Streetsville Arena is a model for public-private partnership.  The City of Mississauga took over the responsibility for such life cycle asset expenditures under its Parks and Recreation Department, but the day-to-day operations and programme scheduling of the facility continue to be run by the board.

General Manager, Jeff Duggan is pleased that the project is going ahead saying, “A little preventative maintenance goes a long way.”  Duggan has been working hard to ensure that the disruption to programmes is minimised.  The main users of the rink have already been consulted and advised of the planned closure.  The Hazel McCallion Banquet Hall and the meeting room are not impacted by the work being done to the rink and will continue to be available for rent.

So despite the lengthy closure for the project there is no need to be concerned that one of your favourite skating locales and hockey venues is out of commission.  If you are surprised at the news, take heed from Sidney Freeman, the psychiatrist on MASH, who once stated, “Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: pull down your pants and slide on the ice.”