After about a month’s delay, the Ponoka Arena Complex’ ice surfaces will be ready for use starting Sept. 5.
The Town of Ponoka announced back in February, 2021 that the arena would be getting a new-and-improved, safer ice plant that would allow them to have ice ready for summer training camps by Aug. 1.
The new ice plant is housed in an exterior building outside of the arena. The project took a bit longer than originally anticipated due to supply chain issues.
“The global pandemic … led to shipping delays of mechanical equipment and computer chips that were required to complete construction of the ice plant,” said town communications manager Sandra Smith.
“Despite those delays, construction was still successfully completed within a reasonable time frame. The town worked closely with our facility user groups to keep them informed of the opening date.”
The former ice plant was 35 years old and nearing the end of its life cycle. The town had stated the old ice plant wasn’t able to keep up with ice production in warmer weather because of its age and inefficiency.
The new ice plant is also supposed to be much safer because it uses significantly less ammonia and is outside of the main building.
The large and small indoor ice surfaces will be ready for private bookings beginning on Sept. 5 and free public skating starts on Sept. 7 with extended hours from 4 to 9 p.m. from Sept. 7 to 10.
After that, the free public skating schedule will be Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the large and small ice and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on the small ice .
“Construction of our new ice plant at the arena has gone well and we are excited to reopen and welcome the public back to our facility,” said Andrew Jones, manager of Parks, Recreation and Facilities in a press release.
Jones says the increased efficiency of the new ice plant will allow the arena to expand its regular ice season and potentially offer summer training camps in Ponoka in the future.
Other repairs completed at the arena during its closure included plexiglass replacement around the ice surfaces; painting beams above the ice; board repairs; board advertising touch ups and replacements and concrete slab repairs.
To book ice time at the arena, phone 403-783-0131 or visit the town’s website at www.ponoka.ca.