Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 18, 2014 - 1:31 pm

Pond Inlet arena re-opens after year-long closure

Residents happy to take to the ice; more repairs expected in the spring

PETER VARGA
Pond Inlet’s two-year-old $6.2 million hockey arena finally re-opened March 14, almost a year after it was closed due to electrical and structural problems. (COURTESY HAMLET OF POND INLET)
Pond Inlet’s two-year-old $6.2 million hockey arena finally re-opened March 14, almost a year after it was closed due to electrical and structural problems. (COURTESY HAMLET OF POND INLET)
Pond Inlet hockey players celebrated their new arena’s opening in March 23, 2012 – but the building would close within a year, due to electrical and structural problems. It finally re-opened March 14 after government contractors fixed troubles with lighting and electrical systems. More work is expected in May, according to the hamlet. (FILE PHOTO)
Pond Inlet hockey players celebrated their new arena’s opening in March 23, 2012 – but the building would close within a year, due to electrical and structural problems. It finally re-opened March 14 after government contractors fixed troubles with lighting and electrical systems. More work is expected in May, according to the hamlet. (FILE PHOTO)

Pond Inlet residents were finally able to take to the ice in their arena March 14, when repairs brought the building’s lighting systems back online.

The trouble-plagued $6.2 million facility closed for repairs to its electrical system in March 2013, just one year after it opened in a large ceremony attended by representatives from all levels of government.

Hopes to re-open the facility last fall did not materialize, due to ongoing problems with the building’s lighting systems.

The hamlet and Nunavut’s Office of the Fire Marshal kept the arena closed until exit and emergency lighting were fixed, to avoid liability problems.

Colin Saunders, chief economic development officer and interim senior administrative officer for the hamlet, was happy to report all systems were fixed by March 14 — at least until the end of the skating season.

The hamlet put out word that the arena re-opened as was ready for use that day, starting with public skating at 4:30 p.m.

“We had lots of kids out skating on Friday, as soon as it opened,” said Saunders.

“The community’s very, very happy. It’s a relief,” he said. Despite some frustration that the problems took so long to fix, residents are glad the territorial government managed to salvage the rest of the season, he said.

Saunders described the repairs as a “semi-permanent” fix, which will hold out at least to the end of spring.

Arena maintainer David Suqslak said electricians were due back in May to install new circuits, and more lights.

Until then, kids and hockey enthusiasts are making the most of the rest of the season.

“There were a lot of kids out yesterday afternoon, playing hockey,” Suqsuak said March 18. The hamlet’s recreation department hopes to organize a hockey tournament at the arena with neighbouring communities of the north Baffin region next month, he added.

Other troubles with the rink’s concrete pad, which holds the ice surface, were repaired under warranty last year.

The pad’s uneven surface complicates maintenance of the ice surface, Suqslak said. Contractors are expected to check on this in the spring.

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