The pools at Airdrie’s Genesis Place Recreation Centre will be closed on a rotational basis beginning July 2017 to allow provincially-mandated repairs and upgrades to anti-entrapment equipment to occur, pending budget approval.
“At this point and time we don’t have firm dates,” said City of Airdrie Aquatics Team Leader Shawn Livingstone. “We’re still working on getting designs done and then having a contractor actually bid on the project.”
Livingstone said a closure schedule will be developed which has the least impact on user groups.
“For the main pool, our plan is to do it in the summer months because that’s when our swim clubs aren’t using it, so that’s when it has the least impact to the community at that time,” he said. “We want to keep the leisure pool open during the summer for the public swim (and) swim lessons.”
Livingstone said the City has been provided with an estimate of four to six weeks to complete the work on each of the main pool and dive tank.
“Depending on what we get from our final designs and what our engineers are telling us we need for curing time for the concrete, because we do have to do some concrete cutting and re-pouring, it could impact the timelines,” he said. “If the main pool took six weeks and the dive tank took six weeks and then we’re looking at about 10 days for the leisure pool then we’re around three months. If each was to only take four weeks or five weeks then we’d be closer to the two-month schedule.”
Alberta Health developed new pool standards legislation in July 2014, however, these standards were not provided to the City until the end of December 2014.
While it might appear the City has had ample time to comply with the new standards, Livingstone said there has actually been a lot of work done behind the scenes – including consulting with Alberta Health and the Lifesaving Society – to get to this point.
“We were told when we contacted the Lifesaving Society they’d be having some training, that they were working to understand all the changes to the standards,” he said. “We attended that training in November 2015. We’ve been in contact with some engineers who could provide assessments of the facility to provide recommendations on what needs to done to be compliant with the legislation.
“It sounds like (the new standards) came into effect a while ago but it’s been a process to get to where we are now and have the plans in place, and to know exactly what we have to do to be compliant.”
Livingstone said the engineering report was completed in May and that has allowed staff to come up with a plan, including submitting a request for capital funding for 2017 to the Council Budget Committee. The total request for capital funding is approximately $1.1 million, which includes approximately $500,000 to complete the required repairs to meet the new standards.
The addition of spray features to the leisure pool – estimated at $239,399 – will be paid for by a grant from the Government of Canada’s Canada 150 Grant program.
The repairs – which involve improving the protection of users of pools from infectious diseases, which may be spread through the water and improving safety to reduce the risk of injury and drowning – include adding dual main drains in the main pool and increasing the size of drains in the hot tub.
Livingstone said staff’s recommendation would be to complete some maintenance work while the pools are already closed, including a changeover of the filter system in the main pool and dive tank, which have reached the end of their life cycles, and repairing the marcite liner in the lane and dive pools.
City council approved staff’s recommendation to close the pools on a rotational basis at its Nov. 7 meeting.
Council asked why the proposed work wasn’t completed when the pools were shut down for three weeks in 2015 for re-tiling.
“To meet the timelines of the tiling project in 2015, it just wasn’t possible. We would have been guessing at what work needed to be done,” Livingstone said. “We could have made some guesses and then found that what we did wasn’t up to code anyway. In order to do it right, we had to engage the engineering firm and actually learn about the changes ourselves and gain an understanding of what was required in the legislation.”
According to Livingstone, a request for quote (RFQ) for the design work required has already gone out and closes mid-November. Pending budget approval, an additional RFQ for the actual construction work will go out early January 2017. The work done by the engineering firm, AME Group, cost approximately $4,500 and was paid out of the Genesis Place operating budget.