West Shore recreation operations manager Wade Davies shows the melted remains of the power cable that blew Monday afternoon

Close call for Bear Mountain ice

For a hockey rink, losing the ice is the mother of all disasters – teams are sidelined, revenue is lost and creating a new slab is an expensive five days of toil.

For a hockey rink, losing the ice is the mother of all disasters – teams are sidelined, revenue is lost and creating a new slab is an expensive five days of toil.

Early Tuesday morning Bear Mountain arena came to within an hour of seeing its ice melt away after the facility was in the dark for more than 13 hours.

Lights went out across West Shore Parks and Recreation on Monday at about 3:15 p.m. after one of three underground high-voltage lines exploded inside a junction box near the arena.

“One of the phases arced and blew up. It burned right off,” said Wade Davies operations manager for the recreation centre. “It’s not the way you want to come back after the long weekend.”

BC Hydro diagnosed the problem and restored power to the upper section of the rec centre by 6:30 p.m. The Juan de Fuca ice arena was out for only about three hours, but it would be another 10 hours before power was restored at Bear Mountain.

Normal ice temperature hovers around 15 F (-9.5 C). By the time high-voltage specialists Horizon Power respliced the cable, the slab was 30.5 F and rapidly approaching the point of becoming a shallow wading pool. The ice plant finally fired up at 4:30 a.m.

“Another hour and we would have lost the ice in the Bear,” Davies said. “With the power out that long, ice would break free of the cement floor, it would lose its seal. If the seal is gone, we’ve got to rip it out and redo it all, four or five days of work.”

As far as ice disasters go, the timing could have been worse. The Victoria Grizzlies held their main training camp at Bear Mountain over the weekend, but had Monday off. Juan de Fuca minor hockey didn’t have ice time until Tuesday evening. Two men’s recreation teams were out of luck.

“We were lucky that by 3:15 p.m. (Monday) the main heat of the day had passed. If this had happened at 10 a.m., we’d have lost the ice,” Davies said. “The Grizzlies were back on at 3 p.m. Tuesday. There were still wet patches. I’ve been here 20 years and that’s the first time we’ve been that close to losing the ice.”

Davies said the fix by Horizon Power should solve the problem, although it remains unclear why the underground cable grounded out. They were lucky to have enough slack to reattach the line to the junction box, otherwise the arena would have been out for a week at least. Wade doubts portable power generators could have kept the ice plant going.

“If we had to extend three new power lines up the hill, we’re talking $10,000 to $20,000,” Davies said. “There would be a huge cost. Lost revenue, all the bookings. Putting new ice in takes five days, we have guys working around the clock.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

City of Langford mails out information on sewer connection requirement

Plan lays out obligations, exemptions and financial assistance information for the costly hookup

Update: BC Transit driver taken to hospital with serious injuries after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Victoria Fire Department advises cigarette safety after two fires started in one week

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read