Ice cleaner to be emissions free in NorWest Arena

By Carl Clutchey
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal

Like Paul McCartney’s fire engine in his iconic Penny Lane, it’s going to be “a clean machine.”

That’s what hockey players and their fans will soon see circling inside Oliver Paipoonge’s NorWest Arena.

A plan announced last Friday to equip the rink with an emissions-free ice cleaner is part of an overall $1.1-million upgrade to various recreational facilities across the municipality.

When the new ice-cleaner is in service, Oliver Paipoonge will join other Northern municipalities that have retired traditional propane-fuelled machines in favour of battery-powered models, including Thunder Bay, Marathon and Sault Ste. Marie.

Of the $1.1 million in upgrades, 75 per cent of the funding was provided by the province.

Oliver Paipoonge Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis suggested the municipality badly needed the provincial share to make a long list of projects a reality.

“We thank the (province) for recognizing how important their financial support has been for our community,” Kloosterhuis said in a provincial news release.

The funding also includes the following projects within the municipality:

  • Murillo community centre: electrical upgrades, foundation waterproofing, roof repairs and HVAC system overhaul.
  • Rosslyn community centre: electrical upgrades, parking lot repairs and new windows and doors.
  • Intola outdoor rink: electrical and lighting upgrades and new indoor shelter.
  • Kakabeka rink and rec complex: upgrades to rink boards, chain-link fencing and lighting.
  • Rosslyn outdoor rink: rink boards, chain-link fencing and improved lighting.
  • Murillo rink and recreation area: rink boards, chain-link fencing and improved lighting.

The provincial share comes from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, which since 2018 has spent $685 million on more than 5,600 community projects across the North, a provincial backgrounder said.

Conservative MPP Kevin Holland (Thunder Bay-Atikokan), whose riding includes Oliver Paipoonge, said the province remains committed to financially supporting “our halls, arenas and recreation centres.”