The room housing the Eckville Arena’s ice plant is in need of repairs. The roof was found sagging a few feet in the fall. (Contributed photo)

Eckville Arena needs to repair sagging roof

Repairs are needed at the Eckville Arena to fix a sagging roof in the room housing the ice plant.

Last fall, arena workers walked into the mechanical room and saw the roof was sagging a few feet.

“It kind of caught us a little off guard,” said Terry Engen, Eckville Arena Operating Association chairman. “There was an engineering analysis done and it was determined this is a safety issue.”

The section of the building housing the mechanical room is about 40 years old.

“Over those 40 years it’s likely been to the maximum of snow load at some points and it’s been pushed to the maximum,” said Engen.

Engen said there is no issue with the roof in the skating area.

The mechanical room roof has been braced by engineers, but if there is a heavy snowfall, it’s possible it could collapse.

“We’ve been told very clearly that if we get an extreme snow load on that portion of the roof that we’ll need to keep it clean.

“Our group of volunteers and our staff have been saying, ‘Who gets to be the lucky soul to shovel that off.’ But I guess if we get massive snows we’ll have to deal with that,” said Engen.

Replacing the roof will cost about $282,000. The association is hoping the Town of Eckville and Lacombe County will cover 25 per cent of the cost each.

The provincial government has been approached for funds as well.

“We’ve been working on getting grants together and approaching the municipalities and going to the councils.

“We’re hopeful the government will be able to supply half of the cost … but our own association will likely have to come up with a portion of that also,” he said.

Engen said, if needed, the association will hold fundraisers down the line.

“We feel pretty confident we’ll be able to move forward, even knowing full well with the provincial government there is no guarantee of funding,” he said.

Construction would take about 70 days; Engan said if all goes according to plan, the repairs could be completed by next fall.

The Eckville Arena will stay open in the meantime, Engen added.

“It’s one of the major hubs of the community. There are a lot of things that go on in here that the community participates in – it’s kind of the centre of the community in the winter time,” he said.

The worst case scenario is the building needs to be closed.

“It would be a pretty big deal for this community if it wasn’t there,” he said. “But I don’t think our board is prepared to even look at that at this point.”

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