GANDER, NL – The Town of Gander is out more than $12,000 following an ammonia leak that forced closure of the Steele Community Centre last month.
The arena was closed starting March 28 for five days following what deputy mayor Tara Pollett called "the faint smell of ammonia" being detected.
Further investigation revealed a small leak in the ice making equipment. While there was no danger to the visiting public, Pollett said the decision to shut down the equipment for the remainder of the season was made.
Having to cancel ice rentals – hockey, figure skating and special events – resulted in the revenue loss of $12,000.
Furthermore, the town will have to absorb the cost of the repair. The parts have been ordered, but Pollett said the total repair cost hasn’t been determined yet.
“But these are maintenance issues, there are things that are going to creep up from time-to-time and we are hoping to absorb the revenue loss and the cost for the fix in some way,” she said. “Once we get all the numbers back we’ll sit down and see what we can do offset that.”
In the meantime, the town has been trying to recoup some of the loss through floor rentals.
“Given the time frame, it’s kind of short notice to get things in place to recoup the lost funds,” Pollett said. “It might not be big money, but at least it’s something.”
For Gus Shave, the closure wasn’t that much of an inconvenience.
The Gander resident walks every day, and when weather conditions aren’t suitable he can be found at the arena’s walking track, getting his 25 laps (five kilometres) in.
When word came down the arena would be closed he made alternate plans to walk outside.
“The weather was pretty good while it was closed so that’s what I done,” said Shave. “We probably could have used the arena once while it was closed, so it wasn’t too bad.”