Paradise’s green Zambonis bleed more red ink

By Mark Squibb / August 18, 2023

If you feel like it was just a few months ago you were reading about Paradise council having to buy a new Zamboni battery, you are correct.

Back in March, council approved the purchase of a new battery for the electrically-fueled Zamboni B at a cost of $21,581, HST included. The old battery had been in operation for about five years.

During this week’s public meeting, council approved the purchase of a new battery for Zamboni A.

“It was only a few months ago that we were talking bout replacing Zamboni B batteries and now we’re talking about replacing Zamboni A batteries,” acknowledged councillor Larry Vaters.

He went on to say that staff did not anticipate that the batteries, which have an expected lifespan of four to five years, would need to be replaced until 2024, but they have begun to malfunction and overheat while charging due to a dead cell.

He moved that council replace the battery ahead of schedule to ensure the machine remains in working order. The battery will come at a cost of $20,695, HST included, plus an additional $1,400 for installation.

Vaters also noted the annual ice maintenance budget is $32,000, and that as staff had not expected having to replace the batteries this year, approval of the motion would push the ice maintenance expenses over budget. He added that funds would have to be reallocated from the recreation department’s operating budget to cover the overage.

In fact, the Town of Paradise had already gone over the ice maintenance budget earlier this spring.

In May, council approved $14,000 worth of repairs to Zamboni A, and going back to May of 2022, council spent $23,000, HST included, to replace a rear end and axle on one of the machines.

Councillor Glen Carew noted the Zambonis, which council purchased in 2014 at a cost of $300,128 HST included, have a shelf life of only about 10 years, and that deadline is fast approaching.

“We’re just about getting close to that marker now,” said Carew. “So, we have talked about either having a healthier maintenance and repair budget and/or looking, at budget time, to see if there’s an opportunity for some new equipment. We know that that rink gets used a lot. We know how many people go through there in the run of a year, and those Zambonis are flat out, so of course we can’t have them down. Because of course once one goes down, it puts more pressure and stress on the other unit, depleting the life of that machine.”

Mayor Dan Bobbett reminded council that, being battery-operated, at least the machines are ‘green.’

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