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Council approves additional $395K for Rotary Place rink fix

'This is a limited field of qualified contractors that would be eligible to adopt this project, so we did do our best,' said staffer, noting only one bid was received for the work
Both rinks at Rotary Place were shut down for several weeks last winter due to mechanical issues and a Legionella outbreak linked to a cooling tower at the west Orillia facility.

City council has approved additional funds, up to $395,000, for refurbishing the Rotary Place arena – on top of the $1.92 million approved late last year.

The work at Rotary Place stems from significant issues at the arena last fall. 

The arena experienced an extended shutdown due to heat exchanger issues, as well as a Legionella outbreak linked to the building’s cooling tower, which caused a Legionnaires' disease outbreak in the community and iced operations for months.

As a result, in December 2022, council approved $1.92 million for a new, air-based cooling system, which cannot harbour or spread the waterborne Legionella.

At their Monday meeting, city politicians approved the additional funding to carry out the project.

“This is a limited field of qualified contractors that would be eligible to adopt this project, so we did do our best, at the staff level and the consultant level, to engage with that industry and market the bid opportunity,” explained Renee Recoskie, the city’s director of facilities, climate change, and operations.

The city received only one submission to carry out the needed work, explained a staff report, which came in over the approved budget.

As the city sought out qualified contractors to replace the Rotary Place cooling system, an interim, rental cooling system has been used to get the arena’s ice pads back in operation.

Council previously approved $425,000 for the rental system, and $35,000 in funds remain from that budget.

“The termination of the rental arrangement and the replacement project have been scheduled in tandem to minimize disruption to user groups,” stated the staff report.

Council authorized the mayor and clerk to execute an agreement with Black and McDonald Limited for the new cooling system.

At the meeting, Coun. Tim Lauer questioned whether any additional information would be available about why Legionella outbreaks continually occurred in Rotary Place’s cooling system.

Last fall’s outbreak was the second in three years.

“From staff’s perspective, we have concluded all of the work at Rotary Place and moved forward with the direction provided by council, so there’s no outstanding deliverables at this time,” Recoskie said.

The extra funds approved Monday will be sourced from the city's general asset management reserve.

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Greg McGrath-Goudie

About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie

Greg has been with Village Media since 2021, where he has worked as an LJI reporter for CollingwoodToday, and now as a city hall/general assignment reporter for OrilliaMatters
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