Skating will make its comeback to Vernon next season after the city announced it’s set to receive $695,000 from the province.
The Centennial Outdoor Rink was closed all season after an inspection determined the chiller needed to be replaced.
Last fall, City of Vernon conducted an inspection on the Priest Valley Arena refrigeration plan, which serves the Priest Valley Arena, Vernon Curling Club and the outdoor rink.
The funding from B.C.’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), which was formed to boost small-scale infrastructure projects, allows the city to replace the chiller plus add three new compressors the Priest Valley Arena Refrigeration Replacement Project.
“The timing of the CERIP grant approval could not have been better,” Mayor Victor Cumming said. “It was very disappointing to have to close the Centennial Rink at a time when outdoor recreation was highly sought after by our community members.”
Expressing his gratitude on behalf of the city, Cumming said, “We’ll be ready to hit the ice again next fall!”
City council recently approved the replacement of the PV Arena chiller this year, with funding to come from the Major Maintenance Reserve Fund.
Both chillers had served the arena for nearly 20 years and were due for replacement, Recreation Services director Doug Ross said, noting the replacement will not only improve the safety of the facility, but it will provide significant energy savings.
Work is set to begin immediately with design and procurement. Installation is expected to be complete ahead of 2021 ice season.
Next, Phase 2 of the Priest Valley Arena Refrigeration Replacement Project will see the third and final chiller, which serves the curling rink, replaced in 2022.