Recreation district to begin fundraising for IceBox refrigeration | SkyHiNews.com

Recreation district to begin fundraising for IceBox refrigeration

Hank Shell
hshell@skyhidailynews.com

Parks Foreman Diedrich Johnson resurfaces the ice at the IceBox in Fraser on Tuesday morning, Jan. 27.

The Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District has established a budget to begin fundraising efforts for a refrigeration system at the IceBox Rink in Fraser.

The district is aiming to raise around $590,000 for the system, said Scott Ledin, director of parks, recreation and golf.

The project is comprised of three components – purchasing the refrigeration system, bringing three-phase power to the facility and constructing a steel building to enclose the system.

The refrigeration system will cost around $400,000, Ledin said. Three-phase power will cost around $125,000 and the building will cost around $65,000.

Ledin said he hoped the cost estimates were a bit high.

"I hope that we can work with (Mountain Parks Electric Inc.) to bring that cost down a little bit," Ledin said. "I heard that they will be having some strategic planning discussions with new management and possibly can work with us on this project."

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Adding a refrigeration system to the IceBox Rink was a priority identified in the district's 2014 community needs assessment.

Currently, the rink's season is subject to outside temperatures, and the ice is rarely ready by Thanksgiving.

"Last season's mild winter I think really kind of drove this discussion and got us thinking more and more about the need for this because we had a week in January when we were close to 40 degrees for eight days straight," Ledin said.

Melting ice can make for a more dangerous playing surface.

Adding the refrigeration system would guarantee a six-month season and give the Fraser Valley Hockey Association, one of the system's biggest champion, a reliable start date for its hockey leagues.

Dan Osborne, FVHA president, said the association has been growing rapidly and currently has around 100 players in its youth program and 170 players in its adult program.

The association's large size means there are a lot of games to be played, and a longer season would help accommodate them.

The district plans to set aside $100,000 for the project, Ledin said.

Currently, around 25 percent of the project cost has been committed.

Both the district and the hockey association are looking at grants and other sources of funding for the project.

The district also plans to pave cart paths for three or four holes at Pole Creek Golf Course next year, Ledin said. Cart paths were another priority identified in the needs assessment.

"We're now in a position where we have enough reserves that we can put some money toward those projects," Ledin said.

The hockey association is currently seeking USA Hockey-certified coaches for its youth hockey programs, Osborne said.

The association has also purchased a lot of entry-level equipment to lower the cost-barrier for parents, Osborne said.

For more information about the association's programs, visit fraservallehockey.com.

Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.

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