Car­bon­ear pool back in op­er­a­tion

Five-month clo­sure longer than orig­i­nally planned

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

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.

Im­por­tant fa­cil­ity

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.

Sub­si­dized

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.

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