The CCRD has received the necessary funding to perform long-awaited upgrades on the existing Centennial Pool, which was constructed in 1967.
“We received a total of $3.5 million in grant funding to upgrade our existing pool infrastructure, including a new pool tank,” said CCRD Chair Alison Sayers. “Unfortunately, covering of our pool to extend our swimming season costs upwards of $12 million to build, then there is ongoing maintenance and staffing costs.”
Sayers explained that the cost to maintain and staff a year-round pool is above $700,000 annually (currently the pool is operated for $80,000 per year) which is about the same as the entire current tax requisition for the whole regional district and is therefore well beyond the means of our tiny region to be able to support.
“Nonetheless, the board has requested that the engineers approach the design of our pool’s new water pipes and heating system with another future option in mind: heat the pool with inexpensive renewable energy, which may be available sometime in the future,” explained Sayers. “This might enable the pool to be kept open for an extended season, or even year-round, similar to the public pool in the community of Whistler.”
There are currently three special options on display for public input and they all include additional features such as a lazy river and/or a separate shallow area for tots. All three designs incorporate the addition of a hot tub, but Sayers says that the special options won’t be confirmed until the project is tendered.
“The plans were available for the public to view and vote on at the Fall Fair and have also been on display at the library and at the CCRD office,” said Sayers. “They will be available at our new office at the airport by the end of next week, along with voting boxes at both offices. People can also view the drawings online on the CCRD website and can call in to the office to vote.”
The Board was hoping to have the pool completed in time for the 2020 season, but at present that is not likely due to a variety of factors.
“Unfortunately, there are many factors influencing this that are entirely beyond CCRD’s control, such as availability and schedules of contractors,” said Sayers. “We won’t likely have a firm idea of timelines until sometime in early 2019. Even then, timelines will be open to change, which is the nature of large construction projects, especially in a remote area like ours.”
Sayers said that every effort is being made to ensure that the community won’t lose a pool season for construction of the new pool tank and other upgrades, and they are optimistic about this. However, the public should be prepared that a partial or complete loss of a pool season is a possibility.
“In general, the construction season is the same as the swimming season, and while building an outdoor facility during the winter months is possible, it would greatly increase costs,” said Sayers. “Loss of a swimming season is an unfortunate short-term price that small, remote communities sometimes have to pay to be able to get an affordable, more beautiful, new, larger, more efficient and more appealing pool facility which will last far into the future.”