Grand Bank pool opening date up in the air this summer and beyond
New ‘complexities’ causing delay, says mayor
The opening of the Grand Bank swimming pool this year appears to be on shaky ground.
During council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Marsha Gaulton, Leanne Bungay and Sharon Patten made a presentation seeking an update on the pool’s status.
Gaulton said the trio was representing the interests of youth in the Grand Bank and Fortune area – in particular, the Southern Sharks Swimming Club.
The town secured federal and provincial funding to make necessary repairs to keep the facility open long-term last fall, and allocated its own portion for the project in this year’s budget, a combined figure of about $300,000.
Everything was progressing on schedule until the recent tender call, said Mayor Rex Matthews.
“I cannot give you an answer for 2017 or 2018 or beyond, and nobody around this council table can,” the mayor said, adding there are now a lot of “complexities” involved in the matter.
Matthews said the tender bid for the pool came in at roughly $ 550,000, significantly more than the funding allocated for improvements.
A new analysis of the work required at the facility now puts the cost of upgrades at almost $700,000, he said.
Matthews said the town’s engineering company was responsible for the incorrect cost evaluation.
Complicating the matter further is the province’s new formula for cost- sharing recreation projects, recently announced in the 2017 budget. Based on the new formula, the town’s portion for the overage would now be 40 per cent instead of the previous 10 per cent.
Council is waiting for information on how much a temporary fix would cost to open the pool this summer.
Matthews said a decision would have to be made once council knows that amount. If it is upwards of $30,000 to $40,000, the mayor said he would have to vote against it, calling it “dead money.”
Matthews said council is fixed on getting the pool open, but acknowledged there “might be some pain.”
Bungay said the three women have decided to enroll their children in swimming in Marystown this year if the Grand Bank pool doesn’t open. She said they will need to know the fate of the facility for this season soon.
Matthews said Tuesday he hoped council could provide an answer by early this week.