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Artificial ice slips away

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Aug 14/02) - Unforeseen technical difficulties have led to the hamlet of Rankin Inlet having to wait another year for its long promised artificial ice.

Hamlet SAO Ron Roach says the ice-making plant has been ordered and will arrive by barge sometime in September.

The difficulties surfaced when the hamlet had the surveyor who was in town working on roads take a look at the arena.

"The surveyor told us the boards along the ice in front of the players benches has dropped between 101 millimetres to 203 millimetres in spots," says Roach.

"Artificial ice will not work if a surface is not level."

The hamlet has taken all the boards and glass out of the arena in order to build the concrete back up until it's perfectly level.

"Then we've got to take out about 203 millimetres of gravel before we can put in 100 millimetres of insulation, vapor barrier and sand. This will all be done this year and the artificial ice will go in next summer."

The hamlet received $150,000 from the Nunavut government this past year and a contribution agreement for an additional $100,000 towards the project this year.

That's down from the original $300,000 promised by the government, but Roach says that won't stop the project from going ahead.

"The ice plant cost $182,000.

"We'll take $32,000 from this year's contribution agreement to pay that off.

"The balance will go towards the purchase of the insulation and vapor barrier, and hiring a contractor to install it and make sure the concrete footing is perfectly level with the other side."

A heated trench also has to be installed -- 45 centimetres deep and 61 centimetres wide -- at either end of the arena for the return and outlet of the brine solution.

Roach says the good news is, with the insulation and vapor barrier down, the ice should be able to go in earlier this year because there will be far less water seepage.

"We're also going to be making an announcement during the next month or so that if there's not a valid curling club in town to use it, we're not putting ice into the curling arena this year.

"We spent the money to get that up and running last year and it wasn't used once."