Lennoxville now looking to replace Centennial Pool
After years of saying that the pool building at Centennial Park needs to be completely rebuilt, and an increasing number of troubles with the basin itself, the Lennoxville Borough Council is now saying that the swimming pool as a whole will need to be replaced. Following a concern expressed by a resident at the most recent meeting of the council, Borough President Claude Charron told The Record that the most cost-efficient way to deal with the pool’s many problems is to demolish it completely and build new from scratch.
“To renovate would be very expensive,” Charron said, explaining that the pipe systems for the current pool and adjacent wading pool are poured into the concrete, meaning that accessing them for the necessary maintenance would require demolishing part of the existing basins anyway. That in mind, he said that it makes more sense in the long term to completely rebuild now rather than patch things up and then face another costly renovation a few years down the road.
The borough president said that the problems with the pool have been increasing in recent years. The pool building was highlighted as problematic by Sherbrooke’s Auditor General in 2013. Short-term corrective measures were taken to fix the ventilation problems raised in that report, but at the same time the borough and the city began the process at that point of looking at how best to build a new structure that would better serve the park as a whole.
Then-borough president David Price
originally told The Record that a new building would be built in the Fall of 2016. The summer before that, however, Sherbrooke changed direction on the project, choosing to go after a Canada 150 community infrastructure grant that could have contributed as much as $500,000 to the estimated $1.25 million needed to rebuild and renovate.
According to Charron the city never got that grant and so the project went back to the drawing board.
“It will be the bare minimum,” the current borough president said, noting that the original plan of a building that could serve the pool, tennis courts, and winter skating rink as well as having bathrooms that could be accessed year round will not be possible. While that project was falling apart, he added, the problems with the pool systems multiplied, leading to issues like this summer’s complete closure of the children’s wading pool.
The proposed solution, according to Charron, is to replace the current pools with a beach-style pool of the sort the city has installed at the Saint-alphonsede-ligouri Park near the Beckett woods. In 2016, Price told The Record that a conversion to a beach pool in Lennoxville would be unwelcome and too costly for the community, but Charron said that the current council feels differently.
“One pool means one set of pipes,” the borough president said, adding that the sloped entry of the redesigned pool means better accessibility for people with reduced mobility and young children. Although the design limits the pool’s usefulness for people who might like to swim laps, he argued that there are not many people using the pool for that purpose and that anyone who wants to swim laps would be better off going to the pool at Bishop’s, to which Sherbrooke residents get a reduced access rate.
The Borough president said that use of the pool in general has been in decline since the Lennoxville Day Camp moved to Bishop’s, and suggested that the renewal of the space might help generate new interest.
What is unclear, at this point, is how the work will impact local swimmers once it gets started. Charron assured The Record that the borough would avoid cutting into the swimming season as much as possible, but he pointed out that at this point in the procedure it is impossible to say when all the pieces will be in the right place for the work to get started because the plan still has to be approved and budgeted by the city council, which is not likely to happen until early next year. According to a city representative, the work to demolish and rebuild the Saint-alphonse-de-ligouri pool in the new style was done completely in the pool’s off-season, allowing it to reopen to the public at the same time as all the other pools in the city.