Nelson aquatic centre fix studied

The Nelson and District Recreation Commission is studying options to renovate or even replace the aquatic centre, which is suffering from a variety of problems. - Bob Hall photo
The Nelson and District Recreation Commission is studying options to renovate or even replace the aquatic centre, which is suffering from a variety of problems.
— image credit: Bob Hall photo

Nelson’s aquatic centre could be in line for major repairs — or even replacement — based on the outcome of structural assessments.

The Nelson and District Recreation Commission is looking at correcting problems with that part of the community complex, built in 1975 and last renovated in 2005.

“The layout of the facility is not the best, as anyone who has used it knows,” says commission chair Ramona Faust. “But it’s not cosmetic, it’s structural and mechanical issues that are prompting the evaluation.”

Last month, the commission asked for an update on the state of the building from Fairbank Architects, as well as a timeline on repairs, and a retrofit design with an option to build a new aquatic centre.

“We need an evaluation whether we continue to throw good money after bad or look at a new facility,” Faust said. “We have no heavy commitment to a new facility. It’s our hope that it’s still pragmatic to address the issues prevalent with the aquatic centre as it is now.”

The last upgrades, done in 2005 as part of construction of the community complex, have yet to be paid off. Faust said they were “substantial” but incomplete.

Among the present issues are a failing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, compounded by a lack of separation between the pool and rest of the building.

“That’s a critical part of operations because of all the humidity in the building,” said Nelson city councillor Deb Kozak, who also sits on the rec commission. “That particular function is not doing well, which means the building envelope is at risk.”

However, the pool tank itself seems to be all right, she added.

Kozak said regardless of which option is chosen, it will probably lead to a temporary pool closure, preferably in summer when other swimming options are available.

“Whenever there are major renovations it’s most desirable to shut it down, get it done, and reopen as quickly as possible,” she told 103.5 The Bridge. “It’s too dangerous [to stay open], especially if you’re doing roof work. And it wouldn’t be the most pleasing environment to have a swim in.”

Kozak said the commission will look at the entire package of recommendations and their price tags before deciding how to proceed. “We’re preparing for if not a new facility, at least some substantial repairs, and those will cost quite a bit.”

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