The Pearkes Gold rink will be closed from spring 2020 to fall 2021 as Saanich replaces the 52-year-old ice slab.
The 2018 Saanich Strategic Facilities Master Plan indicated that the concrete slab under the ice at the Gold Arena had surpassed its life expectancy. Facility staff identified numerous cracks in the concrete and it was concluded that the slab would need to be replaced in three to five years. A need for seismic upgrades at the Gold rink was also noted in the strategic plan.
The $2.6-million project begins with ice removal in early April so the permafrost under the slab can melt before construction begins in the fall. Aside from the slab, Saanich is also planning to replace the ice melt pit, elevator, boards, glass, nets and flooring. The Gold Arena will be closed during construction, but the rest of the Pearkes facilities – including the Green rink – will remain open.
The District hopes the planned closure will allow residents to make other plans. Recreation staff are working to assist rink users so everyone’s ice needs are met.
The planned closure is also part of an effort to mitigate the risks to the recreation centre’s foundation. If the slab fails and compromises the whole recreation centre’s foundation, the cost of the project would increase significantly, explained Graham Thomson, Pearkes manager. That could result in the facility being shut down for an extended period.
The District has also identified a need for more ice in the municipality and, during the 2020 budget deliberations, council will review a request for funding for a study to identify the feasibility of adding a third rink to Saanich.