Abbotsford council has approved delaying the opening of Centennial Outdoor Pool until 2022 to allow for almost $1.1 million in improvements.
The plan came up at council’s executive meeting on Monday afternoon (May 31).
The pool was closed throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A staff report states that preparations began in March of this year for the pool’s reopening.
“It was quickly discovered that the facility conditions had deteriorated to the point where a substantial investment would be required to make it operational,” the report states.
Among the issues facing the facility are chemical, ventilation and mechanical equipment that “either is beyond its lifespan or does not exist at the facility currently.”
As well, there are concerns with failing concrete in the mechanical room ceiling and with the pool basin coating, which has lifted away.
The report states that needed building improvements include locker replacement, an upgrade to the first aid room, replacement of the shower tiles, lighting upgrades to LED, interior repainting, and an upgrade to the front desk.
The project’s estimated budget is $1.086 million, with the money coming from the Community Works Fund, available to local governments in B.C. through a direct allocation of gas tax. It is based on a per-capita formula.
The staff report states that it would have been ideal to have the pool’s issues identified early in 2020.
However, parks and recreation staff were “significantly reduced” due to the pandemic, and priority was given to the city’s recreation centres, with no additional time to inspect Centennial Outdoor Pool until this year, the report adds.
Doing the work at the pool will extend its life by another five to seven years, the report says. It adds that this would allow the city enough time to complete its Aquatics Strategy to plan for future services.
The city anticipates that other local pools should be able to meet the demand while Centennial Outdoor Pool remains closed for the season.
The report states that Matsqui Recreation Centre has recently been seeing only about 20 per cent of its pre-COVID use. Abbotsford Recreation Centre is planned for reopening in early June.
In addition, the city has invested more than $250,000 in upgrades at Albert Dyck Park.
However, staff acknowledge that the temporary closure of Centennial Outdoor Pool will impact the Abbotsford Whalers and other swim clubs, which have already seen reduced membership due to the pandemic.
“Staff will continue to work with local swim clubs and provide support once restrictions are lifted to ensure clubs and regain and grow their membership,” the report states.
The pool was built in 1958 to celebrate B.C.’s 100th birthday. It was originally built as a 25-metre, six-lane pool but was extended to eight lanes in 2007, making it the city’s largest pool.