Former NHLer Georges Laraque says he warned Municipality about cost cutting on synthetic ice surface
The municipality is likely on thin ice with Fort Chipewyan residents, as the synthetic ice surface inside the Archie Simpson Arena will closed for repairs, once again.
Despite receiving accolades from the province, the artificial rink is being dismantled due to unsafe shifting, contraction and expansion of the silicone surface.
Former NHLer Georges Laraque is president of Global Synthetic Ice, the company behind the technology, and says those problems could have been avoided if the municipality had heeded his advice.
"They said that they just wanted the ice but they didn't want to do the cement. I said every year that this is going to happen. If it's not on cement, a big ice like this is going to move because they are putting water on it in the winter so when the water melts it's normal that the ground is going to shift. So what happened is that it's so much maintenance that they realize it now, that it can't work," Laraque told Fort McMurray News.
The synthetic $500,000 surface is expected to removed by weeks end, allowing for a cement pad to be installed and the rink to be flooded for winter.
Earlier this year the project was the recipient of the the Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2011 Minister of Municipal Affairs' Awards of Excellence.
It also received media attention from New York Times and ESPN.
Municipal Director of Public Operations Glen Smith told Fort McMurray News in September that that sized of a synthetic ice surface had never been built before.
"So the concept was we didn't know how much contraction and expansion we would get with the synthetic ice. So what we did was experimented between winter and summer and we found we were getting a contraction and expansion of six to eight inches," Smith said.