Carbonear pool back in operation
Five-month closure longer than originally planned
The Carbonear Swimming Pool is back in business. Finally.
More than five months after it closed for renovations, the pool reopened its doors to the public on Wednesday, June 22 after being closed since Jan. 17.
Originally targeted to be back in operation by the end of March, the reopening has been plagued by several delays.
The building was closed to allow a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning ( HVAC) system to be installed. Replacing an aging and inefficient oil-fired boiler unit, the new system incorporates a new pool dehumidification system with heatrecovery technology.
Last week’s opening did not come any time too soon for town officials, who have been under public pressure from pool users anxious to get back into the water.
Mayor Sam Slade said atcouncil’s June 20regular meeting that he had received several inquiries about the status of the pool.
Slade said many people depend on the pool for recreation and health reasons.
Alluding to the prolonged downtime and delayed re-opening, Coun. Ed Goff remarked, “ this has been more than frustrating for everybody.”
Brian O’Grady, the town’s director of operations and public works, told council, “unfortunately we ran into a number of snags” along the way, which caused delays in getting the pool re-opened.
“ There will still be some loose ends to be tied up even after the pool is operating,” O’Grady pointed out. He expects there will still be minor things they will need to “tweak over the next couple of months.”
The pool will begin its summer schedule July 3, and a grand opening is planned for July 14.
No fee increases
Recreation and Tourism Director Rob Button toldThe Compassthey were able to re-open the facility without having to increase any of the fees charged for use of the pool.
“ The fee structure will be monitored over the coming months,” Button said, “ but no increases are planned for the foreseeable future.”
Meanwhile, 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 recreation director said they expect to save between $25,000 and $30,000 annually on electricity costs.
While the pool is a popular recreational facility in the Trinity-Conception region, it does not make money or break even. Of the approximately $370,000 it costs on average to operate annually, approximately $200,000 of that would be covered by income revenue from fees etc.
Carbonear taxpayers subsidize the facility to the tune of approximately $170,000.
“ We don’t bring in enough revenue to offset our expenses,” town administrator Cynthia Davis explained in an earlier interview.
Valued at just under $900,000, the contract to carry out the latest project went to Air-Tite Sheet Metal Ltd., a St. John’s-based firm.
The project is being cost-shared between the province, which is providing two thirds ($ 600,000) of the funding, while the town is responsible for the remaining third.
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 also expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 75 tonnes annually.
When all the bills are in, the overall project is expected to run around $1 million. Other upgrades When they first enter the pool building, regular users will immediately notice some cosmetic changes. The interior has been spruced up with a new reception desk in the main lobby. All the interior walls, including those around the pool deck, have been painted using new colour schemes.
The current five-month closure is not the longest in the pool’s history. About 10 years ago it was closed for more than a year while awaiting a new roof and poo l l iner t o be installed.
Millions have been poured into the steel and concrete block structure since it opened in 1974.
These kids are happy to be back in the water at the Carbonear Swimming Pool. They were among the 18 swimmers who took advantage of the first general swim on Wednesday, June 22 following a five-month closure. Pictured are: Front (l-r) — Cassendra King, Lucas Adams and Sarah Woodfine; back — Brian and Amanda Butt.