News Views: Full circle

Council has now ordered a new report on proceeding with a retrofit of the Leisure Centre in Maple Ridge.

A swimmer does laps at the pool in the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.

The City of Maple Ridge is again considering renovations to the aging Leisure Centre, but now separate from infrastructure plans for recreation facilities, for which grants are sought and voter approval is needed to borrow money.

Plans to renovate the Leisure Centre were first considered in 2014, when costs were estimated at $5.5 million.

Council feared then closing the indoor pools with no alternatives. And after a plan was pitched to keep part of the facility open while repairs took place, it deferred them to investigate building a new pool.

As consultation on the civic infrastructure plans started, council made clear that a cultural facility with space for a museum, university programs and youth wellness centre was its top priority for seeking grant funding.

Pool renovations were to be bundled with that project.

But there would still be nowhere to swim in the city most of the year in the meantime.

This past week, council heard a new indoor pool could be five years away.

So now it has circled back around to renovating the Leisure Centre.

However, since those initial discussions about doing so two years ago, costs have risen.

They are “likely to be significantly higher,” according to a staff report.

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

Council has now ordered a new report on proceeding with a retrofit of the Leisure Centre.

Will it be much different than those in 2014 and 2015?

In addition to leaky pipes, filtration and mechanical systems need work. Equipment in the electrical room was corroded A new liquid chlorination treatment system is needed, instead of chlorine gas, which has leaked and resulted in evacuations.

Wheelchair ramps and new decks were part of the plans. Improvements were to come out of a facility maintenance reserve fund.

What has changed other than the cost?

Plan B kind of sounds familiar.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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