The District of Saanich has announced plans to start replacing the ice slab and ice melt pit at Pearkes Recreation next year.

According to the municipality, the 52-year-old ice slab at Gold Arena is well beyond its life expectancy and needs to be replaced.

The replacement costs are approximately $2.6 million, and the overall project includes replacement of the elevator, dasher boards and glass, arena netting, and the flooring around the boards.

Closure of the rink is meant to decrease the risk of compromising the recreation centre’s foundation. Damage to the foundation would result in higher costs and closure of the entire facility.

“We understand the significant impact the Gold Arena closure will have on our user groups. Our preference, with our users groups’ best interests in mind, is to have a planned closure rather than a forced closure due to an unexpected slab failure,” said G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre Manager Graham Thomson in a statement.

During construction, the Green Arena and all of the other facilities and services at Pearkes Recreation Centre will remain open.

Staff at Saanich Recreation are working with user groups to find ways to accommodate them at other ice rinks in the region.

The Gold Arena ice slab and ice melt pit replacement project is expected to begin in.

The municipality aims to have the project completed in time to reopen for fall 2021.