The Nelson aquatic centre needs another $4.5 million in upgrades

Nelson pool repairs pegged at $4.5 million

On the heels of receiving a new $600,000 ceiling, Nelson’s aquatic centre may be in line for more major upgrades.

On the heels of receiving a new $600,000 ceiling, Nelson’s aquatic centre may be in line for more major upgrades.

Even before some ceiling tiles collapsed last year, resulting in a closure of over six months, the recreation commission identified many other deficiencies in the nearly 40-year-old building.

Now regional district staff are trying to figure out how best to pay for the upgrades, which are expected to cost up to $4.5 million.

“We are trying to make sure we carry this out in the best interest of the community from a usage point of view and also a tax burden point of view,” rec commission chair Ramona Faust told 103.5 The Bridge. “There is a list of things that needs to be done to preserve the integrity of the building and functionality of the equipment.”

Faust said they hired an architect as well as electrical and mechanical firms, who found numerous problems with the building, including corrosion and a heating and ventilation system on its last legs. “There’s quite an exhaustive list,” Faust said. “Numerous upgrades or repairs [are required] in the facility’s workings.”

Any cracks in the concrete walls or pool are also expected to be fixed. (Before its partial collapse, the ceiling hadn’t been identified as a priority.)

Faust said while it may surprise some that so much remains to be done after last year’s closure and less than a decade after the new arena opened, not everything was attended to at those times. Other problems are just the sign of an aging and well-used facility.

She added the fixes would “definitely” be paid for through borrowing, but the repayment period hasn’t been determined, despite a motion last month to do it over 10 years. If it takes place over a shorter period, the project would not be subject to a counter-petition process, whereas it would be if strung out over a longer time.

Once financing is in place, the work is expected to be done next year, preferably in summer when the facility is less busy and it wouldn’t interfere with swim programs, Faust said.

She said when she joined the commission, the building had no reserve funds, and any money since socked away went to the emergency ceiling fix. “Last year we had to unfortunately react to something that wasn’t in budget. We’re trying to head off any more unnecessary closures because of emergencies.”

Chaos and the complex

Faust hoped repairs now scheduled for 2015 would have been completed sooner, but says the rec complex “has had a bit of a hard go” the last five years.

She says former recreation manager Bernie Van Hooft told them several years ago the building, particularly the aquatic centre, needed $3 million worth of work.

Van Hooft resigned in 2011 and was replaced by Eric Bientjes, who stayed less than a year. Since then regional district community services manager Joe Chirico has been supervising the rec complex, but Faust notes he has many other duties.

The commission was also involved in planning for the outdoor skate park, which was going to be built next to the complex, but unexpected costs made the site prohibitive. In the fall of 2012, unionized staff at the complex went on strike for two weeks — and a few months later, a portion of the pool ceiling fell in. That required a six-month shutdown and over $600,000 in repairs. Consequently, other outstanding work was put off.

“It’s been pretty chaotic,” Faust says. “I hoped we would be doing this sooner but the way things worked out at that complex it’s been quite a roller coaster.”

Just Posted

Grease comes to the Capitol Theatre

The production runs Thursday to Sunday

COLUMN: Watching water, thinking about elections

Columnist Donna Macdonald spoke to Prince George councillor Jillian Merrick about inclusiveness

UPDATE: City opens emergency operations centre

Lakeside Park, its sports fields, and parts of the waterfront could soon be underwater

Canada, U.S. to begin Columbia River Treaty negotiations on May 29

B.C. MLA Katrine Conroy will represent the province in the talks

VIDEO: How to use naloxone to stop a fentanyl overdose

ANKORS’ Chloe Sage shows what to do when someone is overdosing

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

RCMP caution boaters after two kids pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning

Both children were given oxygen and taken to hospital

B.C. invests $115M to create 200 new nurse practitioner jobs

Health Minister says 780,000 B.C. residents don’t have a family doctor

Supreme Court rules social housing residents in B.C. deserve rights too

Tenants trying to stabilize their living situations should not face less legal rights than those paying market rates: Judge

Union calls on prime minister to step into ‘stalled’ Phoenix compensation talks

For more than two years, thousands of federal workers have been affected by Phoenix system

Judge: President Trump can’t block critics on Twitter

The judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics

NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the change was approved unanimously by owners

Unicyclist starts his cross-Canada trip in Vancouver

Taylor Stark started his journey May 7

Most Read