Pool presentation full of promise

THERE'S NO shortage of ideas for the future of the pool.

ONE ELEMENT of the pool master plan is potentially replacing this concrete wall with high-performance glass. “It’s something we’ve always talked about

A wall made of glass, a “wave ride for thrill seekers,” and an exercise area that looks over the pool below – these are just some of the ideas for the aquatic centre’s future according to the pool review presented to the City of Terrace at the beginning of the month.

The 86-page report was commissioned by the city and prepared by Bruce Carscadden Architects Inc., the same folks who headed up the Sportsplex, and presented to council on Oct. 1.

In it, a number of the aquatic centre’s issues are laid out in the hopes that the city can plan for and manage the future of the almost 40-year-old building.

“Last year, the city decided that the pool needed a review and assessment of its existing structural, mechanical, electrical systems as well as a look at its current use of space,” said Carmen Didier, director of leisure services.

“The purpose of this was to come up with a plan that would assist us in better managing the increasing repair and maintenance costs on this old facility.”

The centre was first constructed in 1974, with additions built in 1987 and renovations to the lobby completed in 1988.

The last major work done to the facility was in 2009/2010 when the east wall and various boiler and air handling systems were replaced.

“We know there are other issues with the pool that we will need to address in the very near future,” said Didier. “The city is not in a position to build a new facility so we are looking at repairing and enhancing the facility we have.”

This includes a number of “possible renovations” – things that will extend the life of the facility and serve the community well into the future, she said.

An expansion to the existing pool site is also a possibility, according to the report.

The aquatic centre reopened at the beginning of the month following its annual month-long closure for maintenance.

During this year’s closure, architects and consultants examined the facility with the help of aquatic centre and city staff to check for structural, mechanical, and engineering issues and assess ways in which the space could be improved – and estimate how much each project would cost.

“In particular, concerns with erosion, tile lift, pool heat and water treatment systems, and deterioration of the west wall were explored,” states the report.

“As well as community-identified programming considerations, like the need for a family change room, a more accessible facility with more amenities, and an improved fitness centre.”

“We knew what to expect with a lot of the things,” said aquatic centre manager Mike Carlyle, noting that there were no big surprises within the report. “But getting that second, third set of eyes was really helpful. There were some things we hadn’t necessarily thought of.”

Aquatic centre staff have been asking for input from their visitors via surveys and many of these ideas, like a family change room, were present in the report.

“The patrons have been really helpful, this is their community pool,” he said.

But what was presented in the report is not set in stone. The next step is a meeting with council to decide how to proceed.

The presentation and report will help the aquatic centre with the grant process in the future, he said.

The total estimated cost, if all of the projects were to go through, is $5.33 million.

This is broken down into general categories and projects in the report, some classified as urgent and others planning for the long-term future.

For example, patrons have been asking for a water slide or wave pool – but this is one idea in the report that is more of a long-term goal, said Carlyle.

There are other issues, classified in the report as “Life and Safety”, that need to be completed as quickly as possible “in order to correct safety hazards and life safety code violations.”

These are things like electrical improvements and replacing the gutter in the lap pool.

This review helps us set out a time frame for all of that, said Carlyle.

“We’ve had ideas for a very long time,” he said. “Now we’ve got a very solid plan.”