Family Centre re-opens with family skate

By Monique Massiah, Strathmore Standard

It all kicked off with an official puck-drop on Sunday September 10, as the Town of Strathmore officially re-opened the Strathmore Family Centre this season.


The family centre was part of the town’s Canada 150 projects in 2017. The arena saw the reconstruction of the ice plant for the facility which is home to hockey, ringette and figure skating in the winter, and lacrosse, ball hockey and roller hockey in summer.

On September 10 the town hosted a community skate with special guests The Wheatland Kings who came to meet, greet and skate with local kids, as well as members of the Strathmore Ice U12 and U14 ringette teams, town council and the public.

Town councillor Pat Fule was the master of ceremonies for the event. Also in attendance were councillors Steve Grajczyk and councillor Bob Sobol, town and Family Centre staff.

Fule explained that the renovation cost approximately $900,000 to complete, from which $450,000 was received from a federal grant from Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program.

He said that the renovations will improve the operational efficiency of the facility and save energy and water and lower operating costs.

“To celebrate Canada 150 the Canadian government launched a Canada 150 Infrastructure Program and it was designed specifically for old facility enhancements, and so we applied, and got a matching grant for $450,000 to rebuild our plant,” explained Tracy Simpson, community services co-ordinator fot the Town of Strathmore.

“The ice plant is what we call the heart and soul of the facility. It runs everything. Without it we can’t make ice, and we can’t sustain the ice, so it’s a gigantic refrigeration system that we completely rebuilt this year,” she said.

“All of the components, a lot of the piping, the motors, the condenser, and chiller everything was taken out and new was brought in,” she said. The renovations to the ice plant will now extend the life of the facility to between 20 and 25 years.

About $450,000 of the project’s funding came from the Town of Strathmore’s MSI funding (Municipal Sustainability Initiative) from the province of Alberta.

One of the upgrades to the facility is a new computer run control system that will tell staff exactly how the ice plant is running.

“We get more accurate readings on temperatures and pressure levels as well as warning messages if something is wrong,” said Simpson. “We can troubleshoot a lot faster with this system and it is connected to some of our operators phones,” she said.

“Sports are an important park of our community,”said Mayor Michael Ell during the puck-drop.

Mayor Ell and Josie Herriot Strathmore Ice U14 and Emmarsyn Briggs of Strathmore Ice U12 performed the ring-drop ceremony, followed by the Wheatland Kings Brenden Moore and Cole Busslinger the official puck-drop that kicked off the beginning of the fall arena season.

The ice plant at the Family Centre was designed by engineers from AECOM and constructed by Startec Service Refrigeration Ltd., who also provide year-round maintenance. 

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