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A zero-emissions ice resurfacer goes into service at Fort William Gardens

City officials say the all-electric Ice Wolf, which replaces an existing propane-powered ice resurfacer, will eliminate nearly 8 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year and improve air quality in the arena.
This battery-powered ice resurfacer replaces a propane-powered unit at the Fort William Gardens

THUNDER BAY — An emissions-free, fully-electric ice resurfacer was introduced Wednesday for the first time at Fort William Gardens.

City officials say the Ice Wolf machine will eliminate 7.78 tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions annually, while leaving the air cleaner for athletes, spectators and employees who maintain the ice.

It cost $137,000 but is projected to save about $4,000 annually in maintenance and energy costs as a result of the switch from propane to electricity.

The City of Thunder Bay has targeted the year 2050 for for achieving net-zero emissions from its facilities and equipment.

Coun. Andrew Foulds, a member of the city's Earthcare Advisory Committee, said "This is just one step toward our goal, and clearly demonstrates the city's commitment to achieving a better future for all."

The new machine does not expand the number of vehicles in the city's fleet but is part of the city's cyclical renewal process.

"Anytime we go out to replace a piece of equipment, we always look at options, and in this case we came across this electric version of an ice resurfacer," explained Doug Glena, the city's fleet services manager.

"It's a very simple machine to maintain. The nice part is that it does everything that our traditional resurfacer would do from the aspect of maintaining the ice."

Glena noted that the city is currently conducting a feasibility study regarding the electrification of larger pieces of the fleet such as transit buses, Lift+ buses and garbage packers.

The study will be completed in 2023, and the results will be presented in a report to city council along with recommendations.

He said that – separate from the study – the 2023 draft budget already includes money to buy two electric pickup trucks subject to council's approval.


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