Maple Ridge pool retrofit back on deck

Tuesday Maple Ridge council asked for an update on repairing the 35-year-old Leisure Centre.

A multi-million-dollar repair and renovation to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, first proposed in 2014, could now take place independent of the recreation facilities plan residents will be asked to vote on.

Tuesday, council asked for an update on repairing the 35-year-old Leisure Centre, including a timeline and the effect that repairs would have on users.

Currently, the major renovation of the centre is part of the $40-million Civic and Cultural Facility proposed to be built in Memorial Peace Park.

The Civic and Cultural Facility is one of half a dozen major projects that are part of the multi-million dollar recreation facilities infrastructure plan that’s now out before the public. Borrowing would have to pass an alternative approval process.

In October 2014, council considered renovation plans to the Leisure Centre, then put them on hold amid discussions of building a new pool.

But according to a Dec. 5 staff report, a new aquatic centre that’s part of facilities infrastructure plan could be five years from being built.

If major repairs to the existing aquatic centre are required before that, Maple Ridge could be without an indoor lap or leisure pool for months.

“You can expect that if we have significant problems, we’re going have to move forward with plan B, which is to do the retrofit,” chief administrator Ted Swabey told council.

He added that if repairs are needed, they’ll be funded separate from the infrastructure plan.

According to the staff report, “some critical pool components are well beyond estimated life span …

“… significant repair or renovations to the existing facility would be necessary in the event of a system failure and would result in an extended closure of the facility.”

Such closures have already occurred, it adds.

In 2015, the complete retrofit costs of the Leisure Centre was estimated at $5.5 million.

But the final bill for a refit of the centre “is likely to be significantly higher,” two years later, said the report.

And the longer the project is delayed, “construction costs will continue to increase.”

A new report ordered by council on Tuesday will outline “the process of updating the Leisure Centre retrofit plan, including a proposed timeline, customer implications and potential funding source.

Staff still favour keeping the Leisure Centre retrofit as part of the Civic and Cultural Facility.

A report done in 2013 said that equipment in the electrical room of the Leisure Centre has been corroded, while the mechanical room where chlorine is added to the water has safety issues.

The refit would see a change from a gas to a liquid-chlorination system. Pool decks would also have to be improved and wheel chair access given to leisure, toddler and lap pools.

“Staff is bringing us back an update on this strategy of trying to extend as much life [of the pool] as we can before we do have to do the upgrades,”  Mayor Nicole Read said later.

“We need to be always checking in to make sure, because safety is the highest priority.”

For now, the cost of the major pool renovations are part of the Civic and Cultural Facility. Part of the new federal money announced by the Liberal government is for improving aging infrastructure, Read pointed out.

“My personal preference is, if we can, it would be nice to find a way to not have to close the pool. I really don’t feel good about sending our citizens to another city for any extended period of time for water recreation.”

2016-12-05 Leisure Centre Report by Phil Melnychuk on Scribd

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