Northumberland  Arena

The province is reviewing requirements of ice rinks across the province following an incident at the Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre last month which prompted multiple people to get checked out at hospital.

Last week the Department of Health and Wellness confirmed it will be partnering with the Chief Public Health Office, Recreation PEI and Inspection Services to review standards for ice rinks to ensure the public’s health and safety.

Rural hockey rinks in eastern PEI are being proactive in response to the Tyne Valley incident where on November 17 a combination of factors caused elevated levels of harmful gases to into the arena from the boiler room.

More than 40 people who were in the rink that day reported suffering extreme headaches, coughing and shortness of breath and went to hospital to be checked out.

Tests revealed the rink was not safe for anyone to enter due to the malfunctioning boiler combined with a dirty flue and poor ventilation creating the hazardous environment. The arena remained closed until November 22.

Aaron Bedour manages the Eastern Kings Sportsplex. He said the rink recently installed two new exhaust outlets in the compressor room and daily and weekly checks of the HVAC systems are done. The rink also has a mobile carbon monoxide reader used for monthly checks. None of these changes are in response to the Tyne Valley incident but Mr Bedour said the incident is top of mind.

“It was definitely an eye opener for us,” he said.

At the Cavendish Farms Wellness Centre in Montague, manager Greg MacLaren said a mobile carbon monoxide unit is used three times a day inside the rink to check air quality. Staff also measure carbon dioxide levels when taking these readings.

Danny Kelly, chairman of the Northside Communities Initiative, said the sensors in the new HVAC systems in the Morell Community Rink along with two mobile carbon monoxide readers allows NCI staff who oversee operations of the facility to keep a close eye on air quality and get immediate notifications if conditions change.

Northumberland Arena Manager Diane Ferguson said the facility in Murray River has a new alarm system. A red alert light turns on if a gas leak is detected in the rink’s plant room.

The room also has a sealed door for further security in case of a leak and a fan to vent air to the outdoors. The room is checked twice a day by staff and the rink is checked once a month for carbon monoxide levels with a CO reader.

“Air quality is certainly something to be concerned about,” Ms Ferguson said.

Belfast Recreation Centre could not be contacted before press time Tuesday and Three Rivers Sportsplex declined comment.

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