The City of Hawkesbury has closed the ice rink at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex due to an air quality issue and the presence of mold. The adjoining dressing rooms will also be temporarily closed.

During the September 25 council meeting, Mayor Charlebois read a press release stating that the Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit said that there are no concerns regarding any other area besides the above-mentioned sites.

At a city council meeting on September 25, Hawkesbury Mayor Jeanne Charlebois said the rink could be closed “for up to two months.”

An initial post on the Hawkesbury Recreation and Culture’s Facebook page stated that the rink had been closed due to “mechanical breakdown and prevention tests”. The post also stated that the rink would be closed for an indefinite period.

It was revealed that the town discovered that one of the dehumidifiers had malfunctioned causing the degradation of air quality and the development of mold. The dehumidifier was repaired and the town will now retain the services of a consultant and propose remediation of this situation.

During the council meeting, Nicole Trudeau brought to the attention of council members that the window shields around the ice rink were not the proper height and that this situation should be remedied immediately or put into the 2018 budget. After a few minutes of debate, the council decided to postpone the $18,000 modifications to the window shields to next year’s budget because the ice rink will be closed indefinitely regardless.

Councillor Yves Paquette wanted to let people know that it’s not always the town’s fault and that they did not take the decision to close the rink lightly.

“I saw on social media many negative comments concerning the situation at the arena, and I acknowledge that it’s not a pleasant thing, but nobody’s dead in all this. It’s a simple mechanical failure, it’s like an AC at home, it doesn’t break during winter, it breaks when it’s really hot.” said Paquette.

In the meantime, the Hawkesbury Hawks will be playing their games in Alexandria and will be holding their practices in the arena in Vankleek Hill.

The Hawks’ September 22 game was postponed due to the closure.

Earlier, on September 15, a game was postponed due to heavy fog in the arena. There has been no comment from the City of Hawkesbury as to the relationship, if any, between the fog and the closure.