Investigation ongoing at Fernie Memorial Arena

The Free Press sat down with City of Fernie officials to discuss what they know as of this time.

The Fernie Memorial Arena remains locked down while the investigation continues. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

The Fernie Memorial Arena remains locked down while the investigation continues. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

It’s been almost two months since the deadly ammonia leak claimed three lives at the Fernie Memorial Arena.

The Free Press sat down with City of Fernie officials to discuss what they know as of this time.

Nothing has changed; no new information is known as the investigation remains ongoing. The arena has remained locked down. Nobody has entered the building since the bodies were recovered. The building remains under the jurisdiction of the RCMP.

The City was able to comment on a few things. Firstly, pertaining to whether or not the building is contaminated, they have been told by Interior Health that there is no residual effect from the ammonia. However, they will not know the state of the building until the investigation has wrapped up and the building is returned to the jurisdiction of the City.

Once access is granted, user groups will be able to retrieve the remainder of their gear, and the City will be able to retrieve their Zamboni which they will be bringing up to the Sparwood Arena to help with Ghostrider hockey games.

As they have not been able to gain entry to the building to formulate a plan, the City could not confirm whether or not the arena would be restored, or demolished. They have not contemplated any new major capital projects for 2018.

City officials said that if they were to follow through with the construction of a new arena and curling rink, it could cost upwards of $25 million. This is not something they are budgeting for at this time.

“There have been no official discussions around what the next steps look like,” said City of Fernie CAO Norm McInnis. “We really just want to get into the arena … none of that assessment happens until we get into the building.”

Asked how much this incident has already cost the City, they said this isn’t something they can put a dollar amount on at this point. They are currently working with their insurance company and will have a better idea after the investigation has wrapped up. McInnis said that there has been good communication between groups involved in the investigation, but that these things just take time.

He added that this has been a long and arduous process as the key members who would have been helping to form a plan for the future of recreation in Fernie, are gone. These positions have not yet been filled.

McInnis said that the goal is to have hockey back in Fernie by the beginning of the 2018/19 season, if possible. He admitted that there has been an impact to recreation but it has been minimized thanks to the support of surrounding communities.

ammoniaCity of FernieInvestigation

Just Posted

A wildfire near Cottonwood Lake was put out by Nelson firefighters Sunday night. Photo: Submitted
Wildfire extinguished near Cottonwood Lake

Lightning-caused fire was near one of Nelson’s water sources

West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Central Mountain Air leaving Castlegar airport in July

The airline says market can’t handle two airlines

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

“This is very costly to replace and it seems that Rossland is getting more and more theft and vandalism happening, which is really unfortunate,” says the commission’s Michelle Fairbanks. Photo: Submitted
Two plaques stolen from Rossland heritage square

The plaques were located at Washington and Columbia by the Olaus statue

No matter your age, the city’s two skate park hosts Jaryd Justice-Moote (left) and Brenden Wright can help you roll into a new pastime this “Summer at the Skatepark.” Photo: City of Trail
Free coaching at the Trail Sk8Park begins next month

The city is rolling into a summer of inclusive recreation by, for… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Most Read