Teams scramble to find temporary homes after Cape Breton dome collapse

Sports teams are scrambling to find temporary homes after the dome at the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex collapsed over the weekend.

Yann Artur, the facility’s manager of operations, said melting snow combined with high winds likely led to the collapse of the inflated dome.

“We had some rain and now we have this massive amount of snow that’s letting go and sliding down the side of the dome and probably pinching the dome… against the concrete base, and probably causing a tear,” he said.

Artur said the roughly 10-year-old structure has a flatter top than people realize and that the significant snowfall the region received a week ago was likely a contributing factor.

“We’re looking at approximately five tears in the dome, probably the others got created once the air started to get out of the facility,” he said.

Once the tears are mended, the dome will have to be re-inflated.

Artur said experts have already been at the site to assess the situation and he’s hopeful repairs can get underway in a few days. He expects there was also damage to lights and sports equipment.

The interior of the sports dome when it is inflated. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC)

The dome is home to several of Cape Breton University’s sports teams, including the track and field club team. They’ve been moved to the university’s field house to continue training for the upcoming Atlantic University Sport Championships.

“I think it’s the kind of thing you work through with athletes,” said John Hudec, one of the team’s coaches. “Challenges is what athletics is all about, adapting to challenges and things like that so we’re going to move into a practice first thing [Tuesday] morning.”

CBU’s soccer team however, isn’t as lucky. Player Michael Gould said the team is worried about when they’ll be able to play again as there isn’t another indoor soccer field nearby.

“It also means for the kids I coach … that they won’t be able to get in there and play football as well,” said Gould, referring to Soccer Nova Scotia teams that also practice in the dome.

Michael Gould plays on Cape Breton University’s men’s soccer team. (Brittany Wentzell/CBC)

Gould said for now, it sounds like his team will just be hitting the gym to stay fit until the dome is fixed.

Although assessments have already been completed, Artur said there’s no timeline for the completion of repairs.

He said the cost will be in the thousands of dollars. 

This isn’t the first inflatable sports dome that’s fallen victim this winter. The East Hants Sportsplex’s dome collapsed during a storm in November.

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