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FAQ - Temporary Closure of the Leo Boivin Community Centre

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FAQ  -  TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF THE LEO BOIVIN COMMUNITY CENTRE

When was the mold discovered?

The mold was discovered as a result of a scheduled Building Condition Review which was conducted in accordance with the Town's Asset Management Plan in September of this year. This type of review is conducted every five years, the last of which was done in 2012. The inspection identified possible asbestos and the presense of visible mold on surface materials. This initiated the undertaking of a Designated Materials Survey which is required where hazardous materials such as asbestos are suspected.  The survey required cutting sections out of walls and ceilings to allow inspection of plumbing and HVAC systems. This led to the discovery of mold in the insulation in some parts of the arena. Once discovered the engineers recommended that air testing take place.

How did the mold get there?

There is no absolute certainty with respect to the origin of the mold. It is likely that a number of factors contributed. Some of the suspected causes include:

  • Inadequate waterproofing during a roof reconstruction undertaken some years ago
  • Lack of adequate ventilation systems
  • Structural changes which have resulted in cracks and slumping which have allowed water seepage
  • Condensation
  • Age of the building (50+ years)

How was the extent of the mold problem assessed?

Once mold was discovered in the insulation the Town ordered that air tests be undertaken to establish whether or not the mold was contained to the insulation or whether it had become airborne. It is airborne spores which cause human health risks. Air samples were collected in various areas throughout the building and were sent for laboratory analysis. Results were compared to a control sample of outdoor air taken in the vicinity. Results confirmed the presence of airborne mold spores at a level that is considered a risk to human health. Accordingly the Town immediately closed the rink in order to ensure the health of staff and the public would not be compromised.

Why wasn't the work done when the arena was closed over the summer months?

A Building Condition Review must be carried out when a facility is in full use. Doing this when the ice plant is not functional would not allow a complete inspection of all of the building's systems. As such the inspections needed to take place once the arena ice was in place. A second consideration was the need to wait for senior government grants in order to defray the cost of the Building Condition Review, as well as the inspection of other Town buildings, as an integral part of our asset management planning.

Was there a legal requirement to close the facility?

Yes. Section 25(2) (h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires the protection of workers. This circumstance poses health risks to workers and the public alike and mitigating that risk cannot be done while the facility is open.

 

How long will the community centre be closed?

Initial estimates are two (2) weeks as that is the estimated time required to undertake a clean-up which involves reverse pressuring the HVAC system to expel the contaminated air followed by a thorough cleaning of all surfaces in the building. Once completed the air must be retested to ascertain whether there is still mold in the air. If the air tests negative for spores the building will reopen. If not it is likely that the building will need to be closed for the season as it will be necessary to undertake significant work to remove and replace all of the insulation. The hope is that the insulation removal can be delayed until the end of the season however this will be dependent on air quality.

What does this mean for the future of the arena?

Council had already anticipated that major renovations to the Community Centre would be required in the near future. The alternative is the design and construction of a new facility. In preparation for this eventuality Council had authorized the development of a Master Recreational Plan as well as enhancing the asset management plan so that all of the options could be fully considered. Once the background reports are completed and the full extent of the current air quality issues are fully understood, the Town will proceed with a plan to ensure the long term viability of the community centre / arena.

I have already paid for ice time that has been cancelled by this closure. Can I get a refund?

Yes. The finance department is working on a process to issue refund cheques or credits. All inquiries on this issue should be addressed to the Treasurer, Matthew Armstrong marmstrong@prescott.ca.

Was there a leak in the ammonia system of the ice plant?

No. The ice plant was inspected and was found to be in good operational condition. There was no ammonia leak.

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