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New arena to kick off Sault's switch to zero-emission ice resurfacers

An electric ice resurfacer costs between $126,000 and $162,000, including charging infrastructure
2009-07-03 Tyler Kennedy Stanley Cup DMH Essar Anniversary
Tyler Kennedy and the Stanley Cup ride an old-school Zamboni at the GFL Memorial Gardens in July 2009 at what was then known as the Essar Centre. Donna Hopper/SooToday

The new twin-pad arena at Northern Community Centre will have Sault Ste. Marie's first electric ice resurfacer.

"We had our share of issues with carbon monoxide at the [old] McMeeken [arena]," Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Shoemaker told this week's City Council meeting.

"It wasn't all attributable to the Zamboni, but I think this is a good way of eliminating one potential creator of carbon monoxide in our arenas," Shoemaker said.

"It's good for the health of the attendees. It's good for the environment. Let's hope it's good for our budget as well," he added.

The new resurfacer will be one of the first fully electric vehicles in the City of Sault Ste. Marie's fleet, councillors were advised in a report from Emily Cormier, the city's sustainability coordinator; and Brent Lamming, director of community services.

"The electric ice resurfacer will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in the arena," Cormier and Lamming said.

All of the city's five existing ice resurfacers are fuelled by gasoline.

Councillors were advised at their meeting on Monday night that electric resurfacers cost less to maintain and offer reduced fuel costs.

"City staff are proposing a multi-year replacement plan of the internal combustion units when they reach end of useful life," the Cormier-Lamming report stated.

An electric ice resurfacer is expected to cost between $126,000 and $162,000, including charging infrastructure.

By comparison, resurfacer with an internal combustion engine costs between $100,000 and $110,000.

"Based on the lower emissions factor associated to using electricity, switching to electricity to charge one ice resurfacer will reduce emissions by approximately 13.86 tCO2e or around 90 per cent," the council report said.

"Further to this, annual maintenance for the internal combustion engine ice resurfacers can cost $5,000, whereas for an electric machine can run to about $3,000."

"Another cost to consider is the cost of battery replacement for electric resurfacers, which will be required to be replaced every five to seven years, and are estimated to cost approximately $12,000 per resurfacer."

"Further to the operating costs, current information indicates that electric ice resurfacer actual equipment costs are estimated to cost 30 per cent to 40 per cent more than a fossil fuel machine, but have the benefits of lesser maintenance and fuel cost."

"Seeing as this will be new technology for the city, it is important to consider the time required to train staff to both operate and maintain the machine."

City staff are hoping to get a good deal on a resurfacer through a cooperative group purchasing arrangement set up by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.