Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams happily accepts an Alberni Valley Bulldogs jersey from Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions. (Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror)

Port Alberni mayor gives thanks to Campbell River after ammonia leak at Multiplex

‘You really recognize the importance of an arena to a community when you lose it all of a sudden’

Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions may have been done with city business for the year after completing her city’s budget meetings earlier this month, but she still had one more council meeting to attend.

Minions was up Island Monday night (Dec. 16) to speak at Campbell River’s City Council meeting, thanking the community for its support and hospitality during a recent facility closure in her city. An Alberni Valley Bulldogs BCHL game was moved to Campbell River’s Strathcona Gardens after the Alberni Valley Multiplex was shutdown in November.

The Alberni Valley Multiplex was shut down on Wednesday, Nov. 6 after a low-level ammonia alarm was activated. Two leaks were discovered in the same weld on a manufactured flange in the piping system, and after testing, a further nine subsurface fissures were discovered in the same weld.

The closure was a huge loss to the community, Minions says, and Campbell River did more than its fair share to help during a difficult time.

“I’m here just to extend our community’s most sincere thanks to the City of Campbell River, the Strathcona Regional District, all of the staff, and, really, the people who came out to support us and host a Bulldogs game,” Minions says. “I keep hearing over and over and over from people in Port Alberni who were so thrilled to come here and have the game held and celebrate with the fans of Campbell River.”

The Bulldogs were scheduled to host six games during the time that their home rink was closed. Some were able to be postponed until later in the season, but a game against the Trail Smoke Eaters was unable to be rescheduled, and Strathcona Gardens stepped up big time, Minions says.

RELATED: BCHL’s Bulldogs set to play in Campbell River after rink closure

RELATED: Strathcona Gardens shuffle ice time to accomodate BCHL game

“I want to say thank you very much for helping us out in a time that was very challenging for our community,” Minions says. “You really recognize the importance of an arena to a community when you lose it all of a sudden. It was a huge loss for our community, short term – we’re back up and running now – and to be able to host that Bulldogs game here made a huge difference during that challenging time.”

Mayor Andy Adams accepted Minions’ gift of an official Bulldogs jersey on behalf of the city and the Strathcona Gardens Commission, which he also chairs.

“It was really Commissioner (Cal) Grunerud who has been so instrumental with Campbell River Minor Hockey, who, as soon as we heard about your situation with the ammonia leak, jumped at the opportunity to extend the invitation to not only host the game, but provide practice ice for the teams, as well,” Adams says. “We’re a hockey community, too.”

Coun. Michele Babchuk also took the opportunity to thank the arena staff and management for managing to reschedule other activities at the facility on such short notice.

Strathcona Gardens was the first arena facility in Canada to move from ammonia to carbon dioxide as its cooling agent, which happened this past summer.

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