The Memorial Arena has been closed for the season due to concerns with the building’s roof structure, according to a news release issued by the City of Cranbrook.
The shut down will also affect the ice surface at the adjacent Kinsmen Arena, which utilizes the ice plant from the neighbouring Memorial Arena building. However, the Kinsmen Arena building will remain open as it is used by BGC Cranbrook.
“Our team at Recreation and Culture is making every effort to reorganize our program offerings for the fall and winter months while also finding ways to accommodate as many skaters and user groups at Western Financial Place as possible, with a heavy focus on keeping as many of our young people on the ice as we can,” said Trevor Thors, Director of Recreation and Culture for the City of Cranbrook.
“It is disappointing that we are losing two-thirds of our ice sheets in Cranbrook, but it is good news we still have the ice surface available at Western Financial Place.”
The city says administration will be working closely with user groups from the Memorial Arena to allow for the removal of all their equipment, supplies and other belongings in order to continue their activities in alternate locations.
The city will also work with user groups to reach out to neighbouring communities to see who may have alternate venues and ice times available.
Public Works will also be working to install outdoor rinks again this winter around the City as both temperatures and weather allow.
A contracted professional engineering firm discovered the structural concerns following a preliminary investigation.
Nearly 15 years ago, the City was aware of some roof beam structure issues back in 2008 and undertook some major engineered maintenance work at the time to reinforce and extend the life of the wood beams and usability of the Memorial Arena as long as possible.
According to the city, the work work extended the life of the wood beams for years, however, those wood beams are now beyond their useful lifespan due to age and exposure to the elements.
Specifically, the city notes there is internal decay in the beams and delamination of the wood beam structure, inside and outside the building.
Although the external “skin” of the beams is preserved and looks good from staff applying wood stain and sealer to maintain the wood as long as possible, behind this preserved thin skin, the wood is soft and decayed inside the beams.
The decay is visible externally in some areas.
City administration is working with City Council to determine the next steps around the Memorial Arena.