Cranbrook, BC (September 26, 2023) – Preliminary investigations by a City contracted professional engineering firm have discovered structural concerns with the roof structure of the Memorial Arena. For the safety of all our user groups and staff, the City of Cranbrook will close the Memorial Arena for all public use for the remainder of the season, effective Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
As the ice plant located at the Memorial Arena also provides the ice surface at the Kinsmen Arena, the Kinsmen ice surface will be unavailable as the shutdown of the ice plant at the Memorial Arena will mean the loss of the ice surface at the Kinsmen Arena. The Kinsmen Arena building will remain open as the space is used by the Cranbrook Boys and Girls Club.
The City was aware of some roof beam structure issues back in 2008 and undertook some major engineered maintenance work at that time to reinforce and extend the life of the wood beams and usability of the Memorial Arena as long as possible. This work extended the life of the wood beams for years; however, the wood beams are now beyond their useful lifespan due to age and exposure to the elements. There is internal decay in the beams and delamination of the wood beam structure, inside and outside the building. Although the external “skin” of the beams is preserved and looks good from staff applying wood stain and sealer to maintain the wood as long as possible, behind this preserved thin skin the wood is soft and decayed inside the beams. The decay is visible externally in some areas.
“Our team at Recreation and Culture is making every effort to reorganize our program offerings for the fall and winter months while also finding ways to accommodate as many skaters and user groups at Western Financial Place as possible, with a heavy focus on keeping as many of our young people on the ice as we can,” says Trevor Thors, Director of Recreation and Culture for the City of Cranbrook. “It is disappointing that we are losing two-thirds of our ice sheets in Cranbrook, but it is good news we still have the ice surface available at Western Financial Place.”
City administration will be working closely with user groups from the Memorial Arena to allow for the removal of all their equipment, supplies and other belongings so that they can continue their activities in alternate locations. City administration will also work with user groups to reach out to neighbouring communities to see who may have alternate venues and ice times available.
Public Works will also be working to install outdoor rinks again this winter around the City as both temperatures and weather allow.
City administration is working with City Council to determine the next steps around the Memorial Arena.