New pool needed: report

The District of Summerland should consider building an entirely new aquatic centre rather then renovating the aging public pool, according to a report going before council next week.

A property condition assessment commissioned by the municipality has found the 42-year-old structure is in poor condition, with significant air and water leakage and potential for mould.

As a result, the facility is consuming 86 per cent more electricity per square foot of floor space than an average swimming pool.

“At the time the original aquatic facility was constructed in 1976, the population of Summerland was 6,724. Today the population of Summerland is almost 12,000,” the report says, noting demand for the pool already far exceeds capacity.

Councillors will be presented with three options by Edmonton-based Stantec Consulting; renovation, replacement and replacement with pool 50 per cent larger than the existing facility.

The renovation option, although the cheapest at $13M, is not being recommended because of the temporary closure of the pool it would require.

The second option, at a cost of $16.7M, would construct a modern pool up with similar specifications at a new site. That, however, would do nothing to address current capacity issues — problems that would likely worsen as interest spikes in the new facility.

The consultant’s report recommends the district explores building an entirely new, and larger, aquatic centre at an estimated cost of $22.4M.

“Another scenario could be to upgrade the existing building and add more area to the facility,” the report states. “It is expected that a renovation to the existing facility with an addition would have a similar cost to a new facility of the same size however it would not be as efficient use of area as a new facility and it would lack the attraction of a new facility.”

More urgently, the consultants are recommending that a hazardous material survey and indoor air assessment happens immediately “to ensure the health of staff and patrons.”

Summerland council will discuss the report Tuesday morning.

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