By Andrea Arnold

The Regional District of Fraser Fort George has plans to use the “ice-off” season at both the Robson Valley Recreation Centre in McBride as well as the Canoe Valley Recreation Centre in Valemount to complete some much needed upgrades.

Both valley arenas, the Robson Valley Recreation Centre in McBride and the Canoe Valley Arena in Valemount, will be receiving much-needed renovations. /ANDREA ARNOLD & SUBMITTED

According to Michael Higgins, General Manager of Community Services, both arenas are scheduled for chiller replacements. Their current ones are aging out, and the RDFFG has an infrastructure grant to cover the full cost of the Canoe Valley system. The work done on the McBride arena will include an upgrade to the electric system. The expense will be covered in part by the grant, with reserve funds used if needed.

Also in McBride, the Community Hall is slated for some work as well. Building controls such as heating and air conditioning will also receive some upgrade work. Higgins also stated that they want to tie in the generator that is in the hall into the arena. This would provide backup power for the mission critical systems such as the ammonia plant monitoring system and other key computer components.

The posting has been out for tender for several weeks and closed on Thursday March 25, 2021. Now the RDFFG will select the contractor and further planning will begin.

“The hope is to have it done during the ice-off season,” said Higgins. “How quickly the work can be done is based on how soon design work is completed.”

With complications in supply as well as qualified crew availability due to COVID, there may be a delay in the ice going back into the facilities in the fall, but Higgins hopes that a delay can be avoided altogether.

“I hope to not get in the way of ice,” he said.

As progress is made, the Regional District will provide updates to the renovation timeline.