The Nelson and District Aquatic Centre is set to open by mid-summer according to officials who say repairs are moving along as scheduled.
“We’ve received the final scope of work from the architect and it shows we’re on track to have construction done in June,” said Joe Chirico, general manager of community services. “Then once we clean and test our systems and refill the pool we can reopen to the public. Swimmers should be able to dive in just as the weather is heating up.”
The false ceiling that gave way at the end of January and forced the closure of the pool has now been torn down. Crews are sandblasting girders to remove lead paint in accordance with WorksafeBC requirements.
A contractor bidding and selection process is underway and the successful contractor will begin construction in early May. New energy-efficient lighting, modern acoustical treatment for the pool ceiling and non-hazardous paint are on order.
The community has been seriously affected by the closure, admited Chirico.
“This unexpected temporary closure of our facility has been hard on user groups, NDCC employees and our entire community,” he said.
“The Nelson Neptunes summer swim club has had to make the very difficult decision to cancel their 2013 season. This highlights why we need to undertake a longer-term fix to modernize our aquatic centre.”
The Regional District of Central Kootenay will begin planning for the final phase of the repair and renovation project this fall when the community will be invited to provide input into the design options.
Ramona Faust, recreation commission chair and director for Area E says while reopening the pool is the immediate goal, extending the life of the facility into the coming decades is also a priority.
“We also need to be sure that any work we do now makes economic and practical sense given the facility review, design and retrofit process that Bruce Carscadden and Iredale Group Architecture are undertaking for us.”
The recreation commission and RDCK staff are reviewing initial design concepts to modernize the aquatic centre and improve the flow of activities and human movement throughout the recreation complex.
“We’ll share design options with the public once we receive the full architectural report. It’s going to be interesting to hear what people think and to see their response to concepts for making our facility a more inviting and functional space,” said Faust.
Removal of the false ceiling has cost about $100,000 with an expected total project cost of $600,000 for all repairs, and renovations.