Community voices suggestions on new aquatic facility
“Our goal is to develop a kick-ass facility.”
Those were the words from TRACT Consulting project manager Neil Dawe at the conclusion of the companies’ public meeting on the design of the planned aquatic facility.
The meeting took place at the Avalon North Wolverines Search and Rescue Building on July 7. It brought out 120 residents from Bay Roberts and the surrounding communities including Spaniard’s Bay and Bryant’s Cove.
However, as per TRACT preferences, none of the town’s elected officials or staff were present, although recreation director Ian Flynn was present for a brief period to give an update on the status of the current facility.
It had been closed all week due to issues with its filtration system.
Lasting an hour-and-a-half, the meeting brought together school administrators, teachers and lawyers, as well as doctors and financial advisors.
It was a mixture of people from all walks of life. This pool think-tank produced a smorgasbord of ideas.
As one resident offered up a suggestion, another stepped in and brought the idea along further.
These ideas included a six-lane pool, a larger observation deck, a part of the pool designed for toddlers and young children, family change rooms and proper space for birthday parties.
With each suggestion Phillip Pratt, a member of the design team, was writing them down on a large piece of paper, similar to what teachers use.
By the end of the meeting, Pratt had filled two pages and was halfway through a third. “This makes our job way easier,” said Dawe. One detail did emerge for the new facility when it was revealed it would be a 12-month facility, similar to what is found in neighbouring municipality of Carbonear.
TRACT has previous experience with similar facilities in Pasadena, Conception Bay South and Mount Pearl.
Dawe said the construction of the proposed pool is broken down into three phases — developing the plan, construction and maintaining the facility.
The preferred building site has been identified. That is the land donated by Eric Jerrett a number of years ago.
The land lies behind Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts.
TRACT would be responsible for the design of the facility. This process has three steps that Dawe and his team, which also includes Pratt and Dr. Don Hunter.
The three steps in the design process include facility planning, building design and an operational plan.
When finished, the town would have a 3-D model of the building and a plan that would help the town maintain the facility after completion is finished.
The price of the facility is not known, which was an issue raised by a number of residents at the meeting.
Flynn gave a short update on the status of the current pool.
While it has been closed since Monday ( July 7), he was positive the town will have it open for residents to use on July 14.
Flynn said the pool’s filtration system has been malfunctioning, but the town has identified the problem and parts were being flown in from the mainland.
Silica sand, which is used to filter the pool water, was being put back into the pool, along with anything else in the pool. This could include lint, hair or old band-aids.
On the recommendation of the health inspector, the town decided to shut down the pool until the problem could be resolved.
“This one hurts,” said Flynn in an interview with The Compass earlier in the afternoon.
Dawe said the large number of residents who came out to voice their concerns and suggestions impressed him. “Normally, we get half of this,” he said. There will be further meetings between TRACT and various community groups in the coming days, although there is no official time line.
In Bay Roberts, swimming is a hot-ticket activity. Spots for swimming lessons fill up quickly and registration is a highly anticipated event. Currently, the pool has filled every spot available for lessons with waiting lists for each age group.
With this in mind, the town has taken great lengths to ensure it remains open during the summer months.
The town believes it has taken great strides towards the funding that will grant them a new pool in the future.
“The steps we’ve taken are the steps we feel will put us in the best position with the government, at the end of the day, to enable us to have funding,” said Flynn.
Bay Roberts resident Richard Collins was one of the citizens who offered suggestions for proposed aquatic facility in Bay Roberts during a public meeting with TRACT Consulting at the Avalon North Wolverines Search and Rescue Building in Bay Roberts on July 8.
TRACT Consulting team member Phillip Pratt writes down suggestions on easel paper during the meeting.