The town of Wakaw finds itself dealing with safety concerns as its hockey arena shuts down once more following a discovery by the Saskatchewan Health Authority. The revelation of elevated carbon monoxide levels emanating from the rink's ice resurfacer prompted this swift action.
Previous to the second shut down a number of young players at attending hockey tournament in the town’s Jubilee Arena became sick after they were exposed to carbon monoxide inside the building.
Carbon monoxide from a faulty furnace was initially blamed for the incident. But while the furnaces have been shut down since Monday, the health authority investigated the arena on Wednesday and found the ice resurfacing machine was also a potential source of the carbon monoxide that left the young players ill.
“Once we learned that, we immediately closed the rink,” said Wakaw mayor Mike Markowski. “The rink is now closed until everything is 110-per-cent repaired.”
According to Markowski, there was a leak discovered inside the ice resurfacer which could’ve been a source for the high carbon monoxide levels.
When the health authority tested the carbon monoxide levels at the arena, they were found to be above 25 parts per million, which Health Canada considers unsafe.
“Right now, we don’t know for sure what exactly it was; if it was both or just the (ice resurfacer). Regardless, there was some type of gas that caused kids to get sick and it’s being addressed, and everything will be repaired and given the all clear by the health authority before the rink is re-opened,” he explained.
Since learning of the SHA’s investigation, Markowsky said new parts for the ice resurfacer have been ordered in order to repair it.
“It’s not an old (ice resurfacer) by any means, and it has annual maintenance. It’s just one of those things that parts go and things need to be replaced, I guess,” he said.
“It’s an unfortunate event but, thankfully, it was caught, and the issues have been traced to a main issue that we can fix.”
The mayor said he’s hoping the (ice resurfacer) can repaired in the next few days.
Efforts to address this safety hazard have been comprehensive. Only after the health authority's approval will the rink reopen.
As of November 21st, the arena remained closed.