MP Stetski speaks in House about Fernie deaths; calls for ammonia phase-out

(Ottawa – Submitted Release) Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski made a statement in the House of Commons today about the ammonia leak deaths of three workers in Fernie on October 17.

Stetski also took the opportunity to call on the government to coordinate an effort to replace ammonia refrigeration systems in public rinks with safer CO2 systems.

His full statement read:

Mr. Speaker,

On October 17, there was a terrible tragedy in the town of Fernie in my riding of Kootenay-Columbia. Three workers, Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alberta, lost their lives due to an ammonia leak at the municipal arena. Ninety-five residents living near the arena were evacuated from their homes for five days.

My heart goes out to the families of these workers who died and to the citizens of Fernie.

It’s estimated that there are over 3700 ice arenas and curling rinks in Canada and that 65 per cent of them use ammonia as their refrigerant.

Since 2007, there have been over 50 ammonia leaks in Canada, many resulting in injuries and deaths. Carbon dioxide systems offer a safer and more efficient alternative.

Our most important role as Members of Parliament is to keep our citizens safe. I call on the federal government to work with the provinces to help municipalities phase out of ammonia based systems to ensure there are no more tragedies like the one suffered by the people of Fernie.

A video of the statement may be viewed at: https://youtu.be/1BndnU3CbxM