The city is spending around $425,000 replacing the lights at Sudbury Community Arena, after a nearly disastrous incident in February following a concert when a light fell and hit the ground.
Ed Vildis, the city’s manger of buildings and facilities, told the community services committee July 9 that when bands or other entertainers perform at the arena, they bring in their own lighting. The existing lights, which are on hinges and hung on chains, are raised up to accommodate lights for the concert.
The light fell as a result of moving them repeatedly over the years, he said.
“The light actually collapsed, fell and crashed to the ground,” he said. “Fortunately, nobody was hurt.”
Staff investigated and hired a contractor to do a review of the structural integrity of the lights. The contractor said the lights were at the end of their useful lifecycle and needed to be replaced.
“Further to that situation, the Electrical Safety Authority was called to look at the lights,” Vildis said. “Upon that review, they realized they definitely had major concerns … The overall structural integrity of the lights were in poor condition. They issued a report suggesting the lights be replaced, as a result.”
The order from the ESA also said it must be done this year, so the city hired an electrician to do a temporary fix, at a cost of $37,500, while they prepared to replace the lights permanently.
“We made the lights safe until the new lights could be installed,” Vildis said.
The new lights, totalling 100 in all, are what’s known as T5 lights, which are the most energy efficient in use today for arenas. About 16 rinks in Ottawa already use them. They will be considerably brighter than the current lights, and will give off much less glare, too.
Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis asked how long it would take for the new lights to pay for themselves through the money they would save in energy costs.
“What will be the payback?” Dupuis asked.
Vildis replied that, judging on the experience in Ottawa, the payback period would be between five and six years.
Ward 2 Coun. Jacques Barbeau wondered if the lights could be moved to a new facility if that became necessary.
“We’re already hearing that Sudbury Arena is at the end of its useful life,” Barbeau said. “That’s the opinion of many on council and staff. While I don’t see anything happening in the immediate future … if the arena was to be replaced in the next three to five years, would it be possible at that point to move that lighting to other arenas? Would that lighting still be efficient enough to move to another arena?”
While it’s impossible to tell the future, Vildis said he sees no reason why the news lights wouldn’t be able to move to a new arena.
“My initial answer is yes,” he said. “I don’t see any new lighting coming that will be more energy efficient and that will replace the T5, from an energy-efficiency point of view.”
The committee approved the new lighting request, with the money coming from the 2013 capital budget. Work will begin this month, and won’t interfere with any concerts or with the Sudbury Wolves’ 2012-13 hockey season.
Posted by Arron Pickard