Moving dirt for the new ice rink

Rink under construction in September 2016. Photo SPIN
Rink under construction in September 2016. Photo SPIN

Puck-drop at Sun Peaks is still scheduled for mid-November, despite an inordinate amount of rain that delayed construction efforts.

Powder Ventures, owned by local resident Jason White, was contracted to prepare ground for the new NHL-size, open-air, refrigerated ice rink beside the Sun Peaks Sports Centre.

“This weather has been crazy and rain has really been putting pressure on us,” White said. “There’s a lot of water in the ground there, so it’s been a little bit difficult to get our compaction, but we’ve finally got it beat the last couple weeks.”

White’s crew has moved about 7,000 cubic metres of material, shipping out non-desirable soils and bringing in easily compacted, granular material.

Paramount to the success of the operation is making sure groundwater has a place to go.

“If it starts to build in volume, it becomes an issue, with lateral force, so we’ve had to dig down 10 to 12 feet in spots to put in drains, so it has a place to go,” White said.

A small outdoor rink has operated in Sun Peaks for the past 15 years, but consistent ice quality has been a challenge without an ice making plant.

Powder Ventures has been working in concert with Edmonton-based Global Sports Resources (GSR), which specializes in arena floors and will pour concrete and install pipes for cooling and refrigeration for the ice sheet.

White said GSR should be able to start pouring the last week in September.

Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality purchased the refrigeration unit from an arena in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the boards from the Rose Garden (now called the Moda Centre), home of the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks.

“We don’t like the Winterhawks, but we’ll take their boards,” White quipped.

Powder Ventures employs 30 workers, about 20 of whom are toiling at Sun Peaks on a pair of projects, the outdoor rink and the new health clinic.

White, a Sun Peaks resident for 23 years, is looking forward to seeing the finished products.

“Since we became a municipality, these are the sorts of projects that have opened the door for federal and provincial grants,” he said.

“Long-term, they’re going to be happy we can have tournaments that fill hotel rooms and restaurants, and a trade-show area to show off products.”

Once the rink is built, grant applications can be made for Stage 2, putting a roof over
the rink.

“Mayor Al Raine seems to have his finger on the pulse of where these grants are available,” White said.

“With the municipality and SPRC (Sun Peaks Resort Corporation), we’re all collaborating to pitch in and get this thing done.”