The Jack Setters Arena was closed because of safety issues on Sunday after the city reviewed a report, had a visual inspection and was issued a “close pending mitigation” notice.
On Friday, the city got the report on the arena at 2020 69 Ave. S.E. that said snow on the roof could create a safety hazard.
After the city consulted with the building’s operator, the Millican Ogden Community Association, they decided a temporary closure would start Dec. 2. The city and the association said they are planning to address the structural issues, make a timeline and find alternate facilities.
“Our primary concern is public safety and with the information gathered, we are taking this action in [an] abundance of caution to protect those who work and play here,” said Marco Civitarese, acting director of Calgary Building Services, in a release.
After Fairview Arena’s roof collapsed in February, the city said it worked to have reports prepared on potential high-risk facilities.
Rick Smith, president of the community association, said he was disappointed with the news.
“This is critical to hockey programs, to adults hockey programs, recreational figure skating, ringette, public skating,” he said. “It’s a critical piece of infrastructure to our community and to those programs in general.
“This is pretty disappointing but we have to deal with it. It’s a safety issue, and we recognize that. We’ve seen the reports now and the recommendations are certainly clear that there are some overstressed roof support systems there. The concern is that the weight from the additional snow could cause some of those things to fail.”
Smith said he has a lot of questions as he deals with informing people and the difficult tasks that follow — especially as revenue closes with the doors.
“There’s a shortage of ice in the city of Calgary,” he said. “After the Fairview collapsed, there was a scramble. We actually picked up some of the teams that were at Fairview as clients of ours.
“Where are these players going to go? I haven’t the foggiest idea. It’s a challenge for sure; we are short of ice surfaces in the city.”
When Kyle Mortson arrived at the arena with his daughter on Saturday, he was surprised to find the place where she plays novice minor hockey closed.
“It’s extremely important,” Mortson said. “This is what we do in the winter. We are usually busy every weekend with two kids.”
He said there is no availability of ice time in Calgary.
“Novice is down to half ice so the kids get more ice time,” Mortson said. “My son is splitting ice times with other associations. There is a shortage.”
The facility is booked solid with all types of users and work is underway to find alternate ice times.
“The long-term solution is definitely remediation,” said Marco Civitarese, acting director of Calgary Building Services. “There will have to be a closure for that period of time. That is unknown right now. That’s the part we are working collaboratively with the association, the members and of course, reflecting the time of year that it is hockey season — that’s important.”
– With files from Carolyn Kury de Castillo