Long wait for dip

Swim­mers still wait­ing for pool to re­open


Swim­mers long­ing for a dip in the Car­bon­ear Swim­ming Pool are go­ing to have to wait just a lit­tle longer be­fore tak­ing the plunge.

It will be the end of this month or early May be­fore the pool is ready to re­open its doors to the pub­lic.

That’s the lat­est word from of­fi­cials with the Town of Car­bon­ear, which op­er­ates the fa­cil­ity.

When the pool closed for ren­o­va­tions Jan. 17, the orig­i­nal tar­get date for re­open­ing was set for the end of March. But due to un­fore­seen de­lays, a new tar­get date of April 11 was set. Now town of­fi­cials are hes­i­tate about set­ting a firm date.

“ We’re still shoot­ing for the end of the month, but it’s hard to nail down a def­i­nite time,” the town’s di­rec­tor of pub­lic works, Brian O’Grady, said at an April 18 town coun­cil meet­ing.

Work has been on­go­ing all win­ter on the in­stal­la­tion of a new heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing (HVAC) sys­tem to re­place an aging and in­ef­fi­cient oil-fired boiler sys­tem. The new sys­tem in­cor­po­rates a new pool de­hu­mid­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem and heat-re­cov­ery tech­nol­ogy.

Con­vert­ing the build­ing from an oil-fired to an elec­tri­cal sys­tem has meant an ex­ten­sive elec­tri­cal up­grade. Be­sides hav­ing to re­move all the old duct work and re­place it with new, the pro­ject in­volved hav­ing to re­lo­cate the elec­tri­cal en­trance, ac­cord­ing to town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis.

“Most of the new duct work has been com­pleted and they are now fi­nal­iz­ing the elec­tri­cal work,” Davis told The Com­pass last week.

Pub­lic works di­rec­tor Brian O’Grady, mean­while, ex­plained that to con­vert the build­ing from 220volt to a 600-volt ser­vice a new trans­former had to be in­stalled. A new heat re­cov­ery ven­ti­la­tor was also in­stalled on the roof to re­place the old ex­haust fans over the change rooms.

New steel beams had to be in­stalled to sup­port the new units mounted on the roof.

“ The big­gest piece left,” O’Grady said April 20, “is to get the elec­tri­cal sys­tem to the point where it can be switched over to the new sys­tem. One of the units on the roof has to go where the ex­ist­ing ser­vice is. They can’t in­stall it un­til the old ser­vice comes out. And they can’t re­move the old elec­tri­cal sys­tem un­til they are pre­pared to tie in the new sys­tem. Once the con­trac­tor has ev­ery­thing in place, a pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment elec­tri­cal in­spec­tor has to in­spect and ap­prove the work be­fore is­su­ing a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion num­ber to New­found­land Power, giv­ing the green light to re-en­er­gize the build­ing.”

O’Grady ex­pected all that to be com­pleted by late last week.

Sig­nif­i­cant de­lay

The de­lays in the pool re­open­ing came in for some dis­cus­sion at the April 18 meet­ing of the Car­bon­ear town coun­cil.

Re­mind­ing coun­cil of its ear­lier re­open­ing tar­get dates, Deputy Mayor Ches Ash said, “now we’re into mid-April and we’re still not cer­tain of that (re­open­ing) date.” The deputy mayor said he was “quite con­cerned with the pro­ject de­lays.”

Sug­gest­ing, “this is a very sig­nif­i­cant de­lay,” Ash said, “I don’t know if it’s the con­trac­tor, un­fore­seen is­sues or a com­bi­na­tion ... but we should be tak­ing ev­ery step to en­sure the pool re­opens as soon as pos­si­ble.”

The new sys­tem is ex­pected to mean sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings in heat­ing costs to help off­set the cost of bor­row­ing money to cover the town’s share of the pro­ject.

The con­tract to carry out the pro­ject, val­ued at just un­der $900,000, was awarded to Air-Tite Sheet Metal Lim­ited, a St. John’sbased firm.

The pro­ject is be­ing cost-shared be­tween the prov­ince, which is pro­vid­ing two thirds ($600,000) of the fund­ing, while the town is re­spon­si­ble for the re­main­ing one third.

Cyn­thia Davis noted some of the pro­vin­cial fund­ing for the pro­ject came from the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion’s Green Fund.

The new sys­tem is ex­pected to help re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by ap­prox­i­mately 75 tonnes an­nu­ally.

On bud­get

When all the bills are in, the over­all cost is ex­pected to reach $1 mil­lion. But as of last week, Davis said the pro­ject was still on bud­get.

While the town is re­spon­si­ble for $ 300,000 of the cost, the town ad­min­is­tra­tor had told The Com­pass late last year they had also ap­plied for fund­ing to the fed­eral At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency, and were hop­ing for ap­proval from ACOA, which would re­duce the town’s share to un­der $200,000.

Last week the town ad­min­is­tra­tor said they were still await­ing word from ACOA on the fund­ing re­quest.

Asked about in­come rev­enue losses while the pool is closed down, Davis ex­plained any losses of in­come from fees etc. dur­ing that time are be­ing off­set by sav­ings in op­er­at­ing ex­penses.

She noted when the pool closed ear­lier this year, the heat­ing sys­tem was shut down im­me­di­ately and staff were laid off. The fa­cil­ity em­ploys three full-time and eight to 10 part-time staff, mostly stu­dents. So the town has been sav­ing money in heat­ing fuel and labour costs dur­ing the three months it has been shut down.

While the pool is a pop­u­lar re­gional recre­ational fa­cil­ity, it does not make money. If the pool costs ap­prox­i­mately $370,000 to op­er­ate an­nu­ally, ap­prox­i­mately $200,000 of that would be cov­ered by in­come rev­enue from fees etc., leav­ing Car­bon­ear tax­pay­ers to sub­si­dize the fa­cil­ity to the tune of ap­prox­i­mately $170,000.

Much-needed facelift

When they first en­ter the build­ing af­ter the pool re­opens, reg­u­lar users will im­me­di­ately no­tice some cos­metic changes. Coun­cil is spruc­ing up the build­ing with a new re­cep­tion desk in the main lobby and all the in­te­rior walls, in­clud­ing those around the pool deck, have been painted us­ing new colour schemes.

The cur­rent three-and-a-half month clo­sure is not the long­est in the pool’s his­tory. About a decade ago it was closed for more than a year while await­ing a new roof to be in­stalled.

Mil­lions have been poured into the 37-year old steel and con­crete block struc­ture over the past 37 years since then Car­bon­ear MHA Dr. A.T. (Gus) Rowe and premier Frank Moores de­clared it of­fi­cially open in 1974.

From top to bot­tom the struc­ture has been re­fur­bished with ev­ery­thing from a new roof to a new pool liner, in­stalled eight years ago.

Photo by Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

Stand­ing at the bot­tom of the Car­bon­ear Swim­ming Pool, pub­lic works di­rec­tor Brian O’Grady points to the new duct work that has been in­stalled as part of a new heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing (HVAC) sys­tem at the pool.

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