Protecting Moose Jaw arena’s sprinklers from lacrosse balls could cost $50K

MOOSE JAW—The Kinsmen Sportsplex Arena’s sprinklers have been battered by errant lacrosse balls in the past month, forcing city hall to spend potentially $50,000 to protect the fire-suppression infrastructure.

The city temporarily closed the arena on April 4 after a misplaced lacrosse shot hit the fire sprinkler and caused it to go off. The incident occurred around 8 p.m. during a lacrosse practice.

More than two weeks later, on April 20, during another practice, another lacrosse ball smacked into a fire suppression sprinkler and caused it to shoot out water. The resulting spray soaked a large section of the temporary flooring on the rink’s east end.

Coun. Doug Blanc raised the issue of lacrosse balls damaging the sprinkler heads during the April 22 regular council meeting. He wondered if there was some way to stop this problem from happening because it was likely becoming expensive to fix. 

“We have begun to look at possible options … . (But) this is an extremely rare occurrence. We’ve been offering lacrosse in that facility for 15-plus years, and it’s happened twice — and it’s happened twice in two weeks over that 15-year span,” said Derek Blais, director of parks and recreation. 

The department determined after the first time that there was a “very low probability” of this happening again, so it cleaned up the mess and allowed activities to resume, he continued. 

The cost to clean up the water and repair the sprinkler heads each time is $3,000 to $5,000.

Parks and Rec have explored options to prevent this situation from happening again, including installing cages over the sprinkler heads, but that would cost $40,000 to $50,000 to protect all 140 heads, said Blais. The department could also use netting, but that would not work well with the arena’s low ceiling. 

While the main solution the department is considering is the $50,000 option, it also wants to have further discussions with the arena’s user groups — primarily lacrosse — to see what led to the incidents and if there’s anything they can do to change how they use the venue to reduce the risk, he continued.

“I can assure you that changes will be made, (but) we just don’t know what those are right now,” Blais added.

The next regular council meeting is Monday, May 13. 

More from 620 CKRM