Cost estimate for Canada Games Pool repairs skyrocket

An ailing HVAC system means $3.5 million in maintenance may rise to $9 million, with work not expected to begin until at least 2020

Canada Games Pool repair costs will nearly triple from original estimates as the city looks to replace aging systems in the building — and the facility could close for up to a year once work begins.

The city was planning a $3.5-million project to replace the roof and walls of the pool building (which is separate from the newer field house at the Tournament Capital Centre), but as the facility crests 25 years, the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, electrical and lighting systems also need replacing.

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The total maintenance bill is estimated to cost $9 million.

“We we all knew this was coming,” city capital projects manager Darren Crundwell said. “It’s not a shock.”

Crundwell said roof and wall replacement have been on the books for a number of years. The city has conducted multiple studies on the building, he said, adding that doing all of the required maintenance at once will lessen impact on the facility’s users.

Work could close the pool for six months to one year, though the Tournament Capital Centre gym and field house would remain open.

“We want to do it all at once,” Crundwell said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

A plan will come to city council in January and repairs would not likely begin until 2020. While those repairs are required maintenance, Crundwell said council will also hear other options for the building.

Those options remain unclear, but could include plans to make better use of space, Crundwell said, noting the pool was originally designed for 600 daily users. In 2018, the pool sees about 2,000 daily users as the city and university continue to grow.

“We’re not looking at adding any water at that location,” Crundwell said, noting there is insufficient room. “I can address that.”

Crundwell understands the sticker shock at a time when residents have also heard property taxes could rise by 3.4 per cent next year. He said the building has been well-maintained, but pointed out it is all original and it is time for replacement.

“You look at your house after 30 years, what you would need to do it,” he said.

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