The Regional District of Central Kootenay now expects renovations to the Nelson and district aquatic centre to last from April to December of next year.
“We reviewed the renovations in public meetings for our recreation master plan this past spring, and I think those who attended could see that fixing this facility is crucial,” said Joe Chirico, community services manager for the RDCK.
The pool will be closed during the work, but the adjoining arena, fitness centre, meeting rooms and offices will remain open.
Facility pass holders who have already purchased a pass that expires after April 1 will have the option to receive a pro-rated credit or refund while the aquatic centre is closed.
Fixes will include new mechanical systems, electrical panels and equipment, a relocated lifeguard station, new sauna, pool decks, tiles and water proofing membranes. The maximum borrowing for all renovations is $4.5 million. The regional district expects the investment to last at least 40 years.
The building opened in 1975 and was renovated in 2005 when the Nelson and district community complex, which adjoins it, was built. It was closed for six months last year after some ceiling tiles collapsed. The entire ceiling was replaced at a cost of nearly $800,000.
The regional district is in discussions with pool user groups to explore alternatives to the aquatic centre while renovations take place. One of them, the Nelson Neptunes swim club, has said it risks losing another competitive season unless the work is delayed until July, when they can begin swimming outdoors.
However, Chirico said a quantity surveyor has estimated costs will go up one per cent for each month the project is delayed and the best tendering period for competitive bids is January and February.
“The sooner we get started, the less we’ll spend on construction materials costs due to inflation, and the greater likelihood we’ll have of finding an excellent contractor to take this on,” Chirico said.
“There’s no doubt that construction of any kind disrupts the community’s use of our recreation facilities,” said Ramona Faust, chair of the Nelson and district recreation commission. “Getting started on this project as soon as possible means we’re that much closer to enjoying a more reliable and functional aquatic centre for years to come.”