Delays to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre renovations will not only push the project back to an early 2020 opening, but will cost more, as well.
The project should still to come in on budget, though, because of large contingency fund, said Mayor Mike Morden.
The city announced Tuesday it will need to replace or repair 11 support columns and again delay the project. It was supposed to open this past spring, but was delayed until summer.
The most recent delays have Morden wishing the previous council had just built a new facility in partnership with YMCA Canada.
He said that would be a possibility for a much-needed second pool in the city.
The last council approved a construction contract of$9.6 million for the renovations, with a contingency of 20 per cent, allowing up to $11.5 million for the project.
But with $900,000 in architectural fees, the total tab could now rise to $12.4 million.
Morden said the project was initially projected to come in under $10 million, but the city will now likely use the contingency dollars.
During renovations, workers “unearthed” a steel column and saw corrosion near its base, Morden explained.
The city brought in an independent engineering company to examine all similar support columns, and it recommended replacing all, or part of 11 of them.
“You can’t have a roof pinned up by rusty pillars,” said Morden.
He and councillors toured the facility to understand the need for the work. They learned about two other setbacks: a waterfall support wall needs to be re-designed stronger to last the life of the building; and the need for fire mitigation between the two floors.
The building is almost 40 years old, in an environment with moisture and chemicals.
“It’s not unusual stuff for a pool building that age,” Morden said.
“When you discover a risk to building integrity that puts our public at risk, you must elect to do the right thing and prioritize safety. While we are disappointed that this will push the opening back, the final project will stand the test of time and offer our citizens an enhanced customer experience.”
The renovations were expected to be completed in spring, but have been pushed back once already due to “unforeseen building conditions.”
Morden said the city should explore a partnership with the YMCA when it next builds a pool, because that organization contributes capital funding for construction. The city was approached by the YMCA in the summer of 2015 about a partnership for a new aquatic centre. That organization asks to be involved from the earliest phases, including design and construction and has partnered with other municipalities in the region.
Morden said he likely would have recommended a YMCA partnership if he had been mayor at the time, and it’s still a possibility in the future.
“We do need a second aquatic facility.”
Morden said the city considered partially opening the Leisure Centre to allow pool use, but the costs would add up significantly.
“In the end, it’s better to keep it closed and ‘git ‘er done.’”
Tuesday’s release said the city will continue to work with displaced pool users groups while renovations continue.
“While this discovery is important to our ability to ensure we deliver an exceptional facility that meets the highest safety standards, we recognize that the setback this work has caused to our project timeline impacts residents and pool user groups,” said David Boag, acting general manager parks recreation and culture.
“I want the public to know that we explored every possible alternative to address this discovery and advance the project completion timeline. We are eager to get the work done and open our doors as quickly as possible without compromising the quality of the project. We will continue to work with user groups to minimize the impact on their programs until the project is completed.”
In 2014, cost to repair the pool and filtration systems was estimated at $5.5 million. However, that grew to $9 million after reconstruction of the lobby and change rooms was added.