Pool upgrade moving forward
Carbonear council expected to award contract for muchneeded improvements
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.