Province plans to review standards for P.E.I. rinks

The province has confirmed it plans to take a closer look at the standards in place for ice rinks on Prince Edward Island.

In a statement to CBC, officials said the Department of Health and Wellness will work with the Chief Public Health Office, Recreation P.E.I. and Inspection Services to review standards for arenas.

This follows an incident at the rink in Tyne Valley in mid-November. It was closed for several days after people reported feeling sick after being there.

An investigation by occupational health and safety found the building’s furnace room had elevated levels of carbon dioxide. 

It was reopened after repairs were done and air-quality tests showed that levels returned to normal.

‘Always thinking in the back of your mind’

The facility manager at O’Leary Community Sports Centre said that in the past few weeks officials from the province and occupational health and safety have visited the rink to ensure it’s up to code. 

Jeff Ellsworth says they have a small air-quality device that they take around the building to 17 different places to check the air quality. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

“Obviously, we do our due diligence here on a daily basis,” said Jeff Ellsworth. 

He said he was happy to see the added oversight, on top of the procedures the arena already has in place. He said that includes checking the building’s mechanical room and equipment regularly, and doing air-quality tests three times per day throughout the facility. 

“We document it very well and if some of the numbers don’t make sense then we call in the right people to fix our problems,” Ellsworth said.

Jeff Ellsworth says the arena documents the results from air-quality testing to ensure any change is noticed right away. (NIcole Williams/CBC)

The O’Leary facility was given the all-clear after recent inspections.

Ellsworth credits the rink’s board for putting in place measures like frequent air-quality checks as well as following the mandatory procedures for health and safety, including having the required safety alarms, detectors and scheduled inspections.

But, he said, that incidents like what happened in Tyne Valley could happen to anyone.

“You’re always thinking in the back of your mind, right, because you’re dealing with ammonia and you’re dealing with propane and you’re dealing with all these gases and stuff,” Ellsworth said.

“But if you get your regular checks done and your maintenance done too and you take care of it … then you’re going to be fine.”

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