The City of Fernie regained access to Fernie Memorial Arena on January 26. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

City of Fernie regains access to arena, investigation ongoing

Operational arena by next winter is the goal, says City

For the first time since October, City of Fernie employees are able to step foot inside Fernie Memorial Arena.

Ever since the tragedy, Fernie Memorial Arena has been under the control of the RCMP, Worksafe BC and Techincal Safety BC, as they conducted their investigation into the ammonia leak that took three lives on October 17, 2017.

The investigation is still ongoing, and no timeline has been given as to when it is set to conclude.

On January 26, the City of Fernie regained access to the arena. This allows the City to begin to planning the future of the recreational centre. City of Fernie CAO Norm McInnis explained that they will not be able to effectively plan their next steps until their insurance adjusters have had a chance to assess the damage to the arena.

“Having an arena operational in time for next winter remains our goal, and regaining access to the Arena is the first step in making that a reality,” said McInnis.

While the City’s assessment of the facility has not yet begun, administration and Council have determined that the arena will not re-open without a new refrigeration plant. They are currently researching replacement options, and available funding.

The City’s assessment of the building is expected to take place over the coming weeks. Both Fernie Memorial Arena and the Fernie Curling Club will remain closed to the public.

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