Pool up­grade mov­ing for­ward

Car­bon­ear coun­cil ex­pected to award con­tract for much­needed im­prove­ments

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The much-an­tic­i­pated — and many say long over­due — up­grade of the heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air-con­di­tion­ing (HVAC) sys­tem at the Car­bon­ear swim­ming pool is now back on track.

Coun­cil de­cided at a pub­lic meet­ing last week to ac­cept the low­est bid from Air Tight Sheet Metal in the amount of just un­der $ 890,000. A for­mal con­tract is ex­pected to be awarded very soon, and the project could be­gin this fall or early next year, stated town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis. She ex­plained it will take some 14 weeks for the HVAC equip­ment to be or­dered and shipped.

The project will see the in­ef­fi­cient and costly oil-fired boiler, which was in­stalled dur­ing the pool’s con­struc­tion in 1974, re­placed with a new elec­tric boiler.

The up­grade will also in­clude a new pool de­hu­mid­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem, which will in­cor­po­rate heat re­cov­ery technology to heat the build­ing and ad­dress the oft-crit­i­cized hu­mid­ity prob­lems in the build­ing.

Heat­ing costs will also be re­duced dra­mat­i­cally, which will off­set the cost of bor­row­ing money to cover the town’s share of the project, Davis ex­plained.

The project was orig­i­nally slated to be com­pleted last year, but bids were higher than ex­pected, forc­ing coun­cil to go back to its fund­ing part­ners — the fed­eral and provin­cal gov­ern­ments — for more money. Davis said the prov­ince has com­mit­ted an­other $ 170,000 un­der a green fund ad­min­is­tered by the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Conser va­tion , bring­ing the prov­ince’s share to roughly $430,000. The town has in­creased its com­mit­ment from about $ 110,000 to just over $180,000.

Davis said the town is still wait­ing on a re­sponse from the At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency ( ACOA), but de­cided to pro­ceed with the project be­cause un­der ACOA rules, the $ 183,00 it con­trib­uted to the project last year must be spent be­fore March.

When en­gi­neer­ing and con­sult­ing fees are fac­tored in, the to­tal cost of the project will be just un­der $960,000.

Davis stressed that the pool is an im­por­tant piece of in­fra­struc­ture in the re­gion, and “it didn’t make sense not to pro­ceed.”

A re­cent study showed that half of those en­rolled in swim­ming lessons were from com­mu­ni­ties other than Car­bon­ear, and sev­eral dozen full-and part-time jobs de­pend on the pool. Davis noted that be­tween 25 to 30 stu­dents work there each sum­mer.

“ We’re get­ting al­most a mil­lion dol­lars for this project and it may cost us lit­tle to noth­ing” be­cause of the lower op­er­at­ing costs, she added.

The pool will have to close in or­der to carry out the work, but the du­ra­tion of that clo­sure has not yet been de­ter­mined. Davis said the pool typ­i­cally closes for rou­tine main­te­nance for two to three weeks around the Christ­mas hol­i­days.

“ We’re not an­tic­i­pat­ing sev­eral months,” she said.

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