Richmond Arena re-opens

ARICHAT: The Richmond Arena is now open.

During the committee-of-the-whole meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on November 9, Chief Administrative Officer Don Marchand told council municipal staff was planning to have the facility open by the beginning of this month, but problems arose.

“When the staff arrived at the arena to begin the process, they discovered that there was some mold that had developed on the stands, approximately 10 feet off the ground surface,” he said. “The arena staff were already in there preparing the ice and actually making ice.”

Marchand said the municipality then engaged a firm to do testing, and it was determined it was the type of mold that could irritate anyone with a breathing issue.

The CAO said the municipality then solicited quotes, and a firm was hired, which recently completed the work and conducted more tests.

“We did get the results, and the main arena is all-clear,” he reported. “We didn’t get the formal results, we got a phone call. However, there were two areas that were still beyond the limits. One was the bathroom area, which we have cordoned off. The other area was the Zamboni room which we have indicated to all staff to where their PPE to conduct their daily duties in that area.”

The municipality now wants to re-hire the same firm to remediate those problem areas, Marchand said, noting that after that, the arena will be ready for the public.

Deputy warden Michael Diggdon asked how the mold formed in the arena, and why did it take so long to discover it? He also asked about the cost of the mold remediation, as well as the cost to the municipality of remaining closed for more than half a year.

“Is there provisions in place so that this doesn’t happen again?” he asked.

Marchand responded that after the arrival of COVID-19 last winter, and even into the spring and summer, staff did not frequent the arena since it was closed.

“Had we known that mold would develop because we were not frequenting the arena, then we would certainly have checked it, however hindsight is a wonderful thing, but we didn’t have it then,” the CAO replied. “It happened once, I can assure you it won’t happen again.”

Marchand also responded that because the arena remained closed, the municipality actually saved money.

“As you know, the arena is not a profit-builder, it’s a liability. So in fact by not opening on October 1, it probably cost us less money to get to this point now,” he stated.

In response to a question from Warden Amanda Mombourquette, Marchand replied that all bathroom areas, with the exception of that problem area, will be open to the public and ice rentals are now available.

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