Demolition for the $13.5-million Canada Games Aquatic Centre upgrades will begin this week, nearly two months ahead of schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
City of Kamloops capital projects manager Darren Crundwell said the city bumped its timeline on account of swim meets being cancelled. Initially, the city was planning to start the project at the end of June, working the project around competitive swimming. That final meet in late June, however, has since been cancelled, swept up in myriad event cancellations resulting from the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Because the facility is closed, we’re taking advantage, unfortunately, of the COVID situation,” Crundwell said, noting work can begin earlier as the building is empty with recreation centres shuttered due to the pandemic.
Early work, however, is not expected to shave time off of the project completion date, which remains at the end of this year, due to constraints of the pandemic on construction crews required to physically distance. However, it provides a bit more wiggle room.
“Our schedule was really tight before because we were trying to do it between the swim meet at the end of June and then there was another swim meet in January,” Crundwell said.
“We were really compressed with the swim schedule. This gives us a little more time and we know we’re not going to be as efficient with construction, as well. We’re ensuring our contractors are following provincial guidelines with respect to COVID. We know that’s going to have impacts on productivity. This gives us a bit more float in the construction schedule.”
The project is driven by need to replace the building envelope — roof and walls — on an aging facility. It was built before the Tournament Capital Centre was added, dating back three decades to the Canada Summer Games in the early 1990s. Unlike the city’s Tranquille Road sewer project, the scope of the pool project will not change due to the pandemic.
In addition, it includes replacing the mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems, replacing boilers with energy-efficiency options, repainting interior pool walls and ceiling, offices and other space, constructing a new entrance to improve accessibility and security, replacing and modernizing change rooms and common areas, replacing the hot tub, sauna and steam room with energy-efficient options and safety improvements.
The general contractor is Chandos Construction and the project is being funded through debt ($6.2 million), reserves ($4.3 million), grants ($2.5 million) and climate action revenues ($500,000).
During deliberations, Mayor Ken Christian and Coun. Mike O’Reilly had suggested postponing the project until a later time, due to the pandemic, but council ultimately decided to move ahead, noting the city can take advantage of closure of the facility.
New turf installation will see Hillside Stadium closed
In addition to the Canada Games pool renovation, Hillside Stadium is getting a new field.
Beginning on Tuesday, May 19, the $600,000 artificial turf replacement project will close Hillside Stadium to the public through late July. The entire facility, including the track, will remain closed for the duration of the project.
“There’s going to be equipment running all over the track and everything,” Crundwell said.
Council deferred replacement of the track as it analyzed the impact of the pandemic on city finances.