From the Centre: Kraft contest unites community

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Wow! Wasn’t that a ride? I, of course, am referring to the TSN/Kraft Celebration Tour contest in which one community from each province could enter to win $25,000 towards a recreation-based idea by voting on their website. The first pleasant shock was when we learned the submission by Ross Gowan (one of three Creston contest entries and one of 43 B.C. entries) was selected as a semi-finalist against Armstrong. Upon learning that news on the July long weekend, a local organizing committee was hurriedly formed and the community went from zero to 60 in a matter of hours.

From my perspective, the remarkable part was how, in a very short period of time, everyone involved moved forward as a consensual massive snowball, gathering bodies as it gained momentum — for Star Trek fans, much like the Borg Collective, just happier. Along with Ross in this assimilation process, Myrna Johnson (the Creston Valley’s Spirit Festival facilitator in February) was instrumental in moving this forward and seems to have dedicated those dates until voting closed completely to the cause; as no doubt all the other volunteers did. The amount of supportive emails, postings on Facebook and videos on YouTube, not just from Creston but from various places across Canada, was amazing. As recorded history will show, Armstrong eventually won the clash of the titans, but the demonstration of how fast we could mobilize in a positive manner makes us winners in our own right. However, as part of a personal protest, I am boycotting mac and cheese, unless of course it is made with pasta manufactured from the Creston Valley Food Action Coalition grain and Kootenay Alpine Cheese.

Speaking of forward momentum, by the time you read this, we will have a freshly poured hockey arena floor. Using over 200 cubic metres of concrete, the equivalent of about 30 average garage slabs, this was one of the largest continuous pours in Creston. When you twirl around the ice this fall to the lilting melody of the Skaters’ Waltz or power towards the goal line with the lilting sound of the coach yelling, “What the #$*$#@&#! are you doing?” you will be skating on a floor which incorporates the latest technologies in energy efficiency, concrete composition and admixtures as well as placing and finishing techniques. You will also be skating or standing on almost 20 kilometres (12 miles) of piping along with tons of rebar and steel mesh on an insulated base which was within two millimetres of level. That is the thickness of a dime.

With the first goosh of concrete out of the pump hose starting at about 6:15 Friday morning to the last sputter by the Zamboni exit, it was about nine hours for the placing process. Keep in mind this was a steady pour for the crew, with just a minute here and there for a swig of water or a lengthy break of two minutes to cram a donut or a piece of pizza down their throats before launching back into the wet concrete. The finishing went on for several hours later as the concrete was hand finished and power trowelled, including working a powdered concrete hardener into the surface for a bulletproof finish. From there, the floor will be moistened and covered with poly for a length of time to ensure a slow, steady cure.

For another column, I’ll scare up some information on the original pour — hats off to that crew (and many of them are still around) that used wheelbarrows and power buggies as compared to pump trucks and power trowels and created the floor that provided about 40 years of enjoyment for the community.

Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.