Pickering to spend $1.3 million on new back-up generator for downtown arena complex

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Published April 27, 2022 at 2:40 pm

After nearly 40 years of service, the back-up power generator helping to keep the lights on and the Zamboni running at the Chestnut Hill Developments Recreation Complex is tapping out, forcing the City to tap Elexicon Group – for a cool $1.3 million – to provide a replacement.

The existing 175kW backup power generator serving the arena complex in Pickering’s downtown is original to the building, having been installed when it was first constructed in 1983. The unit, staff told Pickering Council in a report, is “at the end of its serviceable life” and spare parts are no longer available for ongoing service and maintenance.

So the City turned to Elexicon, who has enjoyed a long relationship with Pickering as its energy provider, to provide a quote for the generator’s replacement.

Elexicon’s proposal totalled $1,164,804, and when consulting, contingency fees and other associated costs were factored in the total net project costs came in at $1,323.694. Most of those costs will be covered by money already approved in the 2019 capital budget, with the rest financed through a series of debentures, to be repaid over a 10-year period.

Due to increasing demand for backup power at the facility, including the need to power mechanical systems essential to its operation as an emergency heating and cooling centre, the capacity of the replacement generator must be increased from 1750kW to 750 kW, per the report. And, due to its size, the new generator will also need to be mounted on a new, exterior concrete pad on the arena side of the facility and require an acoustic enclosure to mitigate noise during its operation.

The new generator will also be fueled by natural gas, which has proven to be more reliable in case of interference with diesel fuel delivery services, as occurred during the 2013 ice storm. This change will also eliminate the risks associated with storing large volumes of diesel on site. Natural gas lines already feed the recreation complex and run in proximity to the proposed location to the new equipment. Upgrading capacity will be required, and will be completed by Enbridge, who will recover the expense through increased natural gas consumption.

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