The Terrace Aquatic Centre is the location of a July 12 open house to discuss a planned extensive rebuilding of the facility.

Aquatic centre rebuild to be revealed

The city is seeking public opinions about plans for a massive renovation at the Terrace Aquatic Centre

Locals are about to get a look at how the city wants to approach a massive $4.3 million renovation of its aquatic centre, a project that could take up to 10 months to complete.

It’s holding an open house at the centre July 12 and will also be looking for opinions about the project.

An original concept to renovate the aging centre in stages was cancelled earlier this year when the city received word that its 2015 application to the federal government for $4.3 million in the form of a rebate of taxes paid at the gas pumps was approved.

That phased-in approach was planned to start in 2019 but the federal gas tax rebate now has the city wanting to start work by later this year.

It will, however, mean a closure of the facility to allow all of the work to take place within one project timeline.

“It is difficult to predict the total period of time that the pool will be closed for renovations at this time,” said city leisure services foreman Floyd Mann last week.

“It is estimated that the renovations will be complete within 10 months if the work flows along without any major unforeseen problems.”

The city recently completed a rebuild of the aquatic centre’s western wall and did other work but its new project is far more extensive in scope.

An emphasis on accessibility, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability have so far been touted as important parts of the project.

A release from the city has said specifically that renovations to the centre’s pools, change rooms and fitness room should be reflected in these features.

“Some of the upgrades to the existing systems are expected and the plan is to replace the aged and very inefficient boiler system that heats the main pool water,” Mann said in an email.

“New energy efficient boilers will lower the energy cost of heating the pool water 24/7.”

Mann added that the pool’s gutter system is being studied to see if it can be replaced, which could result in an increased pool depth and help swim groups meet regulation requirements.

Redesigning the changing facilities to allow for the creation of a family-centered change room is also a priority, Mann said.

“One planned improvement would be in respect to the change room area that would allow families to be able to prepare for water activity more easily. Building accessibility considerations are a major challenge and are being given special attention in order to make the facility friendly to all users,” Mann said.

It is also expected that the redesign will bring parking improvements, a more open reception and lobby area, a new fitness room and a new paint job for the facility’s interior.

The Terrace Aquatic Centre serves upwards of 20,000 people in the northwest region and is one of the most well-used public facilities in the community.

The city estimates the aquatic centre receives more than 200,000 visits every year.

Operation costs are shared with local rural residents through the Kitimat-Stikine regional district.

The city has hired the Vancouver-based firm of Carscadden Stokes McDonald Architects to develop the rebuild plan and company representatives were in town last month working on the details to be featured at the July 12 session.

The mid-May release from the city states that the aquatic centre is a vital part of the community that improves livability and the quality of life for many individuals in Terrace and elsewhere. “It provides a place for people of all ages and abilities to learn to swim, stay active and engage with others,” the release says.

It also states that it makes “economic, environmental and social sense for our community” to renew the facility.