Nailing down Natatorium reinforcements

Lisa Goudy
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Council approves immediate repair of structural shoring

Monday marked the opening of the outdoor pool and news of its leakage.

“The outdoor pool is losing water and it’s happening at an unacceptable rate at the present time. We’ve had this issue in the past and we have been able to provide the service,” said Jody Hauta, director of parks and recreation. “At one point in the past, it took a couple of years to determine the exact cause of the leakage. We are currently troubleshooting the issues to determine the cause.”

However, some work will be done soon on the Natatorium.

On Monday, city council voted in favour of repairing the structural shoring in the Natatorium at a cost of $27,127 with a budget of $30,000 to provide a project contingency. Leeville Construction will do the reinforcement and remediation work.

“Obviously this is a band-aid,” said Coun. Dawn Luhning. “At this point, where we’re at with the pool open today, this is the only alternative we have. I think that obviously this council needs to have a serious discussion on what’s going to happen with the outdoor pool and the Natatorium come September, October when we start talking budget.”

Temporary structural shoring work, including timber support beams, plywood covering and steel teleposts, was done in 1988 to support the underside of the deck surrounding the indoor pool. The mechanical room for the outdoor pool and the boiler for the building are located under the existing deck.

The Natatorium indoor pool closed in 1996. The pool mechanical room is used during the season of the Phyllis Dewar Outdoor Pool and the building boiler heats the building year-round. Staff members check the boiler daily.

At the Feb. 24 budget committee meeting, the committee adopted a resolution for city administration to issue a request for proposals for Natatorium redevelopment from the public or private sector.

In May 2014, McGinn Engineering Ltd. was hired to do a structural re-inspection of the shoring. In their review, the company noted that the structure has weakened further and the existing temporary shoring needs to be adjusted or replaced and new supports need to be installed.

The consultant said the work shouldn’t be delayed until the end of June because there is a “risk to life safety to occupants under the apron deck…” Hauta said it would be an approximately two-week construction process.

“I was very concerned about the fact that the work needs to be done so quickly and we still have staff on site,” said Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick. “There will be times … that we will have to close for whatever period it has to be for a day, a couple of days, while the work is being done.”

If council had voted not to do the work, the Phyllis Dewar Outdoor Pool would’ve had to close.

“Unfortunately I think that the writing is on the wall already for this facility and probably the Natatorium as well and if the pool hadn’t opened (Monday), if this was a month ago, I absolutely would’ve been voting against this motion,” said Coun. Heather Eby.

“It wouldn’t have been easy, but because the pool’s open and it’s summer time and that is a level of service, I very hesitantly will support the motion.”

The motion passed unanimously. Mayor Deb Higgins and Coun. Patrick Boyle were absent from Monday’s meeting.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Phyllis Dewar Outdoor Pool, Leeville Construction, McGinn Engineering

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