The casino project involves parking areas, bridges, pedestrian walkways, and a main plaza covered in cobblestone.
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — The mist from the world-famous Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls is a beautiful sight to behold. But during the winter months in this Ontario city, the mist can spell danger, too. That’s because sometimes the mist immediately forms sheets of ice on the area sidewalks and streets, which can lead to mayhem for drivers and pedestrians.

So when the new Niagara Falls Casino/Gateway Project was in the planning stages, the architects were keenly aware of liability issues if casino patrons failed to negotiate the icy surfaces.

“Horseshoe Falls gives off a fine mist, even in the wintertime,” said Sal Fiorillo of Sayers and Associates, the mechanical contractor for the casino project. “It could be very perilous for the people coming in and out of the casino and also for the parking ramps and bus waiting areas during the winter months.” Sayers and Associates is installing all of the plumbing, piping, sheet metal work, and heating and cooling equipment for the project, including the Rehau snow and ice melt (SIM) system.

“The real clincher was when the architect drove up and spun out at the construction site,” quipped Mark Euteneier, technical associate for Klimatrol Environmental Systems Ltd., the company that is supplying parts and piping for the SIM system. The SIM system consists of RAUPEX pipe, Everloc® fittings, industrial manifolds, and modern controls.

The approximately 125,000-square-foot system will be installed in parking lot areas and walkways to melt the accumulation of snow and ice. The system is designed to clear snow and ice from vehicle and pedestrian pathways quickly and efficiently.

Euteneir said the casino project provided a unique challenge because of the many bridges, suspended parking ramps, and the main plaza covered in cobblestone. But he said it was important that all surfaces be kept ice-free, regardless of the challenge.

“There are a lot of insurance liabilities involved,” he said. “We have worked on projects like hospitals and public buildings where public safety has been important.”

Workers carefully install part of the 125,000-square-foot snow and ice melting system for the Niagara Falls Casino/Gateway Project.

The System

The pipe is designed to provide extended system life and optimum performance under rugged conditions. It is designed to maintain its structural integrity even after repeated bending during installation and resist conventional solvents and chemicals, as well as hydrous salt and acid solutions.

The system melts snow and ice when heated fluid is circulated throughout the pipe, which is installed underneath or within an outdoor ground surface. The SIM system facilitates snow removal, minimizing the need to apply salt or other melting agents that can corrode many surfaces. Indoor maintenance costs can also be reduced because less salt and water is tracked inside buildings.

“Snow and ice melting systems are becoming more common in Canada because of winter conditions where wide and sloped areas need to be clear all year round,” said Fiorillo. “Rehau was selected for this project because of the reliability and credibility of its product.”

The Niagara Falls Casino/Gateway Project, which began construction in October 2001, is expected to cost $800 million. Situated on an eight-hectare site overlooking Horseshoe Falls, the complex will house a 100,000-square-foot casino with 3,000 slot machines, 150 gaming tables, a 368-room hotel, 50,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, and a 1,500-seat performing arts center.

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Publication date: 10/13/2003