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More air-quality testing needed before Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre reopens

Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre
Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre - Millicent McKay

Furnace and boiler system a focus of evaluation


An assistant manager of the Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre is hoping the facility can reopen soon.

But Adam MacLennan says the local rink will not reopen until air quality tests confirm it is safe to do so, and that whatever caused the arena the have to be shut down in the first place has been resolved.

The facility closed at 8 a.m. Monday, following reports that several people who were in the rink on Sunday were not feeling well.

MacLennan and several other recreation hockey league players who were on the ice Sunday night subsequently sought medical attention on Monday morning, complaining of shortness of breath, headaches and coughing. Some had noticed they were more tired than normal during their hockey game the night before. 

The arena subsequently learned that some minor hockey players and parents who were in the building in the afternoon and evening were also experiencing similar symptoms. 

MacLennan said much of the focus on Tuesday was directed at the furnace and boiler. Private contractors, under the guidance of the provincial boiler inspector, spent the day taking the system apart and servicing it.  He said air quality tests taken Tuesday morning confirmed it was safe to be in the building, but he noted everything had been shut down since Monday. 

“(The public) will only be on the ice if it is safe to be inside the facility." 
-Adam MacLennan

Once the furnace and boiler, including pipes, are all put back together, MacLennan was expecting efficiency tests to be performed later in the day on Tuesday. He said a second round of emissions tests would be performed on the arena’s Zamboni, as well.

"They’re doing everything they can to try to figure out what might’ve went wrong,” he said, acknowledging facility users are seeking confirmation the facility is safe. He added there are no indications there are any problems with the refrigeration plant.

“The rink is taking this seriously. We want to try to make sure nothing like this happens again,” he said.

The chief provincial health officer issued a statement Tuesday that early indications are that the respiratory symptoms experienced are likely related to the blockage of a boiler flue and potentially elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide. 

It is the CPHO’s understanding that none of the people who presented to emergency departments required hospitalization. 

“Hopefully (Wednesday) morning we get some air tests done,” MacLennan said. “We will do a few of them, make sure our levels are coming back good and then we will eventually be able to look at when the facility will be able to reopen.” 

He said it is still too soon to indicate when it will reopen, but admitted he’s hoping that can happen before the weekend.

“They will only be on the ice if it is safe to be inside the facility,” he said.

He added the rink’s management and board are appreciative of other arenas in the West Prince region for reaching out to the Tyne Valley Minor Hockey and Figure Skating programs to offer them ice times. 

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