Local lacrosse players are out of luck after recent heavy rains during reconstruction of the roof at Pitt Meadows Arenas forced the closure of the Gold Rink this past week, leaving the Ridge Meadows Minor Lacrosse Association scrambling to move games to Mission and Coquitlam.
RMMLA spokesperson Kelly Berkey said the association’s mini-tyke, tyke, novice, midget, and all girls’ teams use the Gold Rink for their home games and practices. Presently, all their home games have been postponed as they try to find available rinks elsewhere.
“This is a nightmare for us,” said Berkey. “We’ve had to cancel practices, move games, and we don’t know when we can get back in there.”
Parks and leisure services general manager Kelly Swift said there was no other option but to close the rink after leaking rainwater made he rink’s concrete floor unsafe to play on.
“Our No. 1 priority is safety,” said Swift. “The leaks have been an issue with hockey teams playing on the rink, but with the ice out, and kids playing on the concrete floor, there’s much more of a safety hazard.”
The Pitt Meadows Arena is currently undergoing a $7.5 million renovation.
Unforeseen repairs to shore up piles under the arena have delayed completion of the first phase of the project at least until June, driving up construction costs from $6.8 million.
The city is now just going to complete the entire upgrade as quickly as possible to prevent another spike in costs, instead of sticking to original plans to renovate the arena in three phases over five years.
Work to repair the roof was supposed to have been completed last week, in time for the lacrosse season, but the recent bout of wet weather has delayed the installation of a water-proof membrane.
“It’s a double whammy,” said Swift. “The rain is preventing the work from being finished, and it’s causing the leaks, too.”
The roof leaks have been a long-standing issue with the arena, and is one of the reasons the city became involved in operating and renovating the facility, said Swift.
However, Berkey says parks and leisure services shouldn’t have taken the RMMLA’s money if the roof wasn’t fixed. The association paid parks and leisure services more than $10,000 for floor time for the month of April.
“They weren’t prepared. They knew the leaks were there, so why did they take our money?” said Berkey. “It will be a week before we get that money back, but in the meantime, we have to pay for time at other rinks.”
Swift said parks and leisure services has refunded the cost of the rink rental to the lacrosse association, and will pay for any additional costs associated with finding rink time elsewhere.
“There will be no net cost to them,” Swift said. “It’s certainly not ideal, but we are doing everything we can.”
Swift said she expects the roof work to be completed and the rink re-opened within seven to 10 days, weather permitting.