CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – The two ice rinks at Strathcona Gardens are in the process of being upgraded to a carbon dioxide refrigeration system.

According to a release from the Strathcona Regional District (SRD), the work is part of the $4.6 million Energy Efficiency Upgrade funded by the federal Gas Tax Fund.

With today’s concern for the environment, energy efficiency and safety, carbon dioxide (CO2) has now been recognized as a better option for synthetic refrigerants.

CO2 is  natural, non-toxic and non-flammable with no-net greenhouse effect.

The switch from the ammonia-based refrigeration system will be the first of its kind in the province.

RELATED: Strathcona Gardens rinks changing from ammonia refrigeration to CO2

The ice sheets for both arenas were taken out on April 2nd, and the contractor recovered all the ammonia. They are now in the process of decommissioning the old refrigeration plants.

“The aggressive project schedule has the contractors diligently working towards the first sheet of ice being open for programs and ice bookings on July 19, 2019,” Manager of Arena and Facility Operations Trevor Fitz wrote in the release.

He added that staff do not expect a delay in the opening, but as with any other renovation or construction project, there may be a few factors that could influence the opening date along the way.

“Some of these factors can include cross border shipping delays or receiving other vital parts or equipment in time.”

There will be an energy retrofit to the boilers and domestic hot water system, which will begin in mid-June.

With the new boilers and the heat claim on the CO2 system, the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex will be able to capture as much energy as possible from the ice plants and use it efficiently in other areas of the facility.

For more information and project updates on the energy efficiency upgrade, visit the SRD’s project site.