April 21st, 2024

Labor Club Ice Centre getting new ice plant


By Dale Woodard on May 20, 2021.

Speedskaters take part in a practice session at the Labour Club arena in a past season as the Lethbridge Speed Skating Club prepared to host their annual meet Herald file photo by Ian Martens

The Labor Club Ice Centre is getting an upgrade in time for next season.
On Tuesday, Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies, on behalf of Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Prasad Panda, Alberta’s Minister of Infrastructure, announced funding for 12 infrastructure projects.
The Government of Canada is investing more than $9.1 million in the projects through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The funding is conditional on fully satisfying environmental assessment requirements and consultations with Indigenous groups. Contributions by recipients toward their respective projects are more than $2.2 million.
The projects include upgrades to playgrounds and sports facilities, additional pathways and trails for active transportation and improvements to emergency response and prevention infrastructure.
Among those upgrades is a new ice plant for the arena on Lethbridge’s north side.
The federal funding for the new ice plant is $960,000 and another $240,000 municipally.
At the Labor Club, Robin Harper, general manager of recreation and culture, said the design work for the new ice plant is ongoing.
“They’re close to completion. The actual construction work and installation will probably begin in the next couple of weeks with the planned end date to be this fall in preparation for the upcoming season.
“The City of Lethbridge has a long list of life cycle needs at all of our facilities and the refrigeration plant at the Labor Club was one of them. It happened to fit into one of the categories for the funding. So we put in an application and were successful.”
Though not sure how old the existing ice plant, Harper said it had reached the end of its life cycle and needed replacing.
“It’ll be a much more efficient plant than the current one,” he said. “So hopefully with operational costs we’ll see a positive impact in that area. We hope to see a bit of a better product on the ice, especially in the shoulder seasons when it’s warmer in the fall or warmer in the spring when those plants really have to work a lot harder.”
After the pandemic iced the 2020-21 hockey season, Harper said everyone is looking forward to returning to a typical hockey season in the fall.
“We’re looking forward to a more normal season and I know the community is as well. The youth and adults have missed their opportunities to participate and hopefully if things get back to some type of normalcy, we’ll be able to see people back in the rinks and facilities again.”
“Getting construction started and completed on these infrastructure projects will help ensure these Alberta communities remain vibrant and viable, particularly important in light of challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Panda in a release. “These projects are helping to protect the lives and livelihoods of Albertans by promoting healthy economic activity throughout the areas and supporting good-paying jobs for local workers.”

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