Glacier Gardens Arena at 19 Wing Comox was evacuated as a precaution Wednesday morning.
The arena serves as the site for COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics in the Comox Valley.
People who were at the site for their vaccinations were directed out of the building. Around 10 a.m., a large group was still milling about the busy parking lot, while site workers started to send them back in for vaccines based on their initial appointment times. They also asked visitors to sanitize their hands and have their health cards ready to go back inside.
A volunteer directing traffic said the evacuation started around 9 a.m., and he thought the reason was concern about a potential gas leak. Commentary on social media also suggested the same cause.
Island Health confirmed Wednesday afternoon that someone noticed the smell upon arrival in the morning, so the site was cleared and emergency personnel were called to the scene. Emergency services and Fortis BC inspected the arena and found no gas leak, so the site was deemed to be safe for normal operations.
“Staff did a great job and were all caught up within an hour of resuming operations,” an Island Health spokesperson said. “We thank people for their understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.”
The estimated delay lasted about 90 minutes, and Island Health called in additional immunization staff to help complete the appointments.
Public health officials started using the arena for vaccinations in the Comox Valley at the beginning of April, with estimates at that time of handling between 360 and 480 people a day depending on the day’s operating hours.