‘To close or not to close?’ – Council debates the $3.5 million aquatic question

‘To close or not to close?’ - Council debates the $3.5 million aquatic question

Following the closure of the aquatic centre earlier this year the Town of Sylvan Lake ordered an audit of the building to assess needed repairs to.

Over the past months since closure, council has received reports from the audit process detailing the damage with a final verdict on the aquatic centre finally coming to pass Monday evening at Town Council.

A detailed building audit report and recommendations were presented to Council revealing the building no longer meets Alberta Health Service standards, nor current structural codes. While the pool basin itself is in good shape the building suffers from premature deterioration due to an inadequate air handling system, which increased moisture and humidity levels in the facility.

Council heard from the Public Works department on a numbers of areas in need of repair including corroded columns and roof trusses, upgrades to roof trusses to accommodate snowdrift load from the future NexSource Centre, replacement of the pool deck, replacement of entire heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC)system, upgrades to pool piping, upgrades to the circulating pump, upgrades to the hair filter, as well as a need for a mold/mildew assessment, and a number of other items including lobby work and washroom work.

Following the audit, Council was made aware of the cost of the projected project which would would weigh in at between $2.57 million $3.5 million. With the unbudgeted expense on the table, council was left to debate the topic among one another.

Councillor Prete posed the question, “Is there any possibility we just shut the doors and don’t reopen?”

Mayor McIntyre followed by saying he felt given the overall condition of the building it would seem ‘irresponsible to abandon the asset’.

“A community the size of ours has a certain expectation that we will have an aquatic centre,”said McIntyre. “With that expectation in place and the valuable asset we have on the ground at the aquatic centre I think it does make sense to repair the facility and bring it up to a level where it is suitable to be adjoined to the Nexsource Centre.”

Councillor Plante agreed with McIntyre stating he felt it was a necessity for a community the size of Sylvan Lake to have an aquatic centre.

Councillor Lust added, “I think if we close the doors of the aquatic centre none of us will be sitting at this table in 2017.”

Following debate Council was left to decide which course of action would need to be taken and determined they would award the design contract for the structural steel repairs to a firm yet to be determined, Council would be approving the expansion of Clark Builders’ construction management scope from just the building of the Nexsource Centre to that of the repairs and upgrades at the aquatic centre. They also determined the building would not be reopened until all necessary repairs and upgrades were completed. All motions were passed unanimously with all Councillors in favour of the repairs by the end of debate.

Following these deliberations Council also approved a $3.5 million budget for the repairs, but tabled the topic of where that money would come from until a later date.

Public Works provided Council with a number of potential current projects they could defer in order to find the money for the repairs including but not limited too: Centennial Streets upgrades, 53 Street modernization, 44 street rehabilitation and Lakeshore Drive from 33 Street to Highway 20 all of which pull funds from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI).

The repairs are expected to be complete by Fall 2016 and the building will remain closed until all repairs are completed.

editor@sylvanlakenews.com