When you’re this close to the North Pole, it’s okay to celebrate Christmas in July.
Pond Inlet, a community of 1,300 on the north shore of Baffin Island, is expected to be receiving a gift from the City of Cornwall in the guise of a used Zamboni.
The isolated northern community recently built a new arena, but is lacking an ice resurfacer.
City councillors are expected to vote Monday night to donate a surplus machine from the municipal fleet of Zambonis.
The 25-year-old machine that used to make the rounds in Cornwall is now going on the longest trip of its life – some 3,500 km due north of its current home to the Pond Inlet arena, located in a fly-in only community with the majority of the yearly supplies arriving by ship during the month of August. The community has 24 hours of dark from mid-November to February and 24 hours of daylight from mid-April until October.
Robert Kavanaugh, an RCMP officer posted in Pond Inlet, made the request of city council in a letter last month.
“Last year a community hall with an arena was built to replace the 27-year-old arena. The community had to wait until March for the arena to open which resulted in a pretty short season,” said Kavanaugh. “The children and youth of the community have very little to do and for the most part just walk around town hanging out. The community has limited exposure to organized sports like hockey that you and I take for granted.”
He explained the ice is resurfaced by scraping away snow with shovels and brooms, and at night a 45-gallon drum of water is dumped on the surface.
“As you can appreciate without a Zamboni the playing surface is less than desirable at best,” said Kavanaugh.
Resurfacing at any normal facility takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, while in Pond Inlet it can take more than an hour to clean and flood the ice surface.
“If this goes through, it will be really well received by the community,” Kavanaugh said in an interview. “It will be the same as getting one right off the factory floor.”
City council must make its decision Monday, though. It has only one meeting in July and Pond Inlet has until July 20 to get a machine, any machine, onto a supply ship bound for its harbour.
“If they defer it to another day, or decide not to do it, we will have missed the boat, pardon the pun,” said Kavanaugh.
There will be no costs incurred by the city as the unit has been paid for and has no remaining book value. This ice resurfacer was purchased in 1987 with a service life of 20 years. Currently, the unit is to be included in the surplus/obsolete equipment tender to be issued later this year. Based on past experience, the disposal of a similar unit would realize less than a $1,000 if sold or scrapped.