Rink repaired, due to reopen next month

Reece Aiken, the Dunedin Ice Stadium icemaker, examines the icy surface of the stadium yesterday...
Reece Aiken, the Dunedin Ice Stadium icemaker, examines the icy surface of the stadium yesterday as work to fix an ice block growing under the facility continues. The venue expects to reopen in January. Photo: Linda Robertson
The Dunedin Ice Stadium is expected to be closed for another month as work continues to rectify an underground ice block threatening its playing surfaces.

Stadium manager Paris Heyd confirmed this week the venue had closed on December 10 and would remain shut until January 21.

That meant the public, as well as ice hockey, curling and figure skating groups, would have to go without an ice venue in Dunedin over much of the summer holiday period.

Mr Heyd said the closure was to allow repairs to an underground heating system which had developed a fault, and been deactivated, more than a decade ago.

Since the system was switched off, an underground ice block had been slowly forming near the centre of the building, below the facility's Olympic-sized ice and four-lane curling rinks.

Left unchecked, it had the potential to lift the surface and crack and warp the stadium's ice.

''We had a few walls which were starting to bow out as well, because the ice was so thick.''

Mr Heyd said the repair involved isolating faulty loops in the underground heating system and sealing them off, before reactivating the rest of the system.

That work had already been completed and the system turned back on, but time was needed to allow the ice block to thaw out, he said.

The venue's ice rinks had been removed as part of the repair, which Mr Heyd said allowed more heat to get into the ground and thaw out the area.

''We've already seen some improvement, which is good.''

Mr Heyd expected work to reinstate the ice rinks would start on January 7 and the main rink should reopen to the public on January 21, followed by the curling rink about a month later.

The repair would cost the venue in equipment and lost income, which ''isn't great'', but the exact cost was not yet known.

''We had a good couple of years, so we should be all right.''

Curling and hockey clubs using the venue did not run over summer anyway, but figure skaters were affected, he said.

They usually trained year-round, and some figure skaters were now travelling to Gore to get time on the ice, he said.

That was unavoidable, ''and they understand that'', he said.

''If we don't do anything, there's a good chance we lose the rink for an extended period of time. We couldn't wait until next year so we had to do it this year.''



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