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‘Unexpected and significant failure’ means Burnaby ice rink will be closed this fall

Kensington Arena’s concrete slab under the ice "cannot be salvaged."
Kensington Arena will be closed for the fall season this year, due to 'significant issues' with the concrete slab under the ice.

The City of Burnaby is closing Kensington Arena for the fall season because of a failed concrete slab that will cost almost $2.9 million to fix.

The 1973-built NHL-sized ice rink has “encountered some significant issues,” according to a staff report, and the concrete slab under the ice needs to be replaced.

“The existing slab of the rink has heaved in two areas, leading to ruptured refrigeration lines,” said the report.

“As a result, most of the brine, which is vital for the rink’s functionality, has drained from the system. Given these circumstances, it is evident that the current slab cannot be salvaged.”

The fix for the “unexpected and significant failure issues” will cost an estimated $2.89 million, which council approved at its July 24 meeting.

The rink will be closed for the upcoming fall season, which begins Aug. 21, according to a city press release. The slab replacement work is scheduled to last until the end of 2023.

The report noted the “limited availability and high demand for ice rinks in Burnaby” means staff are “eager” to begin work on the project.

They hope to complete the work in time for the upcoming 2024 winter-spring ice season, according to the report.

The cost of the project will include removing and replacing the rink slab and apron, including hazardous materials remediation, dasher boards, new sports flooring and complete refrigeration system design and construction, according to the report.

The much-delayed Rosemary Brown Arena in South Burnaby, located at 10th Avenue and 18th Street, is still not finished, though its construction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year. The arena, with two NHL-sized ice rinks, was originally supposed to be finished in fall 2021.

Where will Kensington skaters go?

Those who want to ice skate in North Burnaby this season will have to go to Burnaby Lake Arena, in the Bill Copeland Sports Centre, at 3676 Kensington Ave.

Skating lessons, fall programming and drop-in skating sessions normally held at Kensington Arena will be moved to Burnaby Lake Arena, according to the press release.

The Kensington Complex building, at 6159 Curtis St., will stay open on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to provide public washroom access.

📣 SOUND OFF: Will this ice rink closure affect your fall activities? Send us a letter.