Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit October 11, 2012 - 3:06 pm

Cracks force closure of Iqaluit swimming pool

“There’s no secret that Iqaluit needs a new pool”

DAVID MURPHY
Iqaluit’s recreation director, Amy Elgersma, points out cracks in the swimming pool inside the Astro Hill complex Oct. 11. The cracks were noticed after an annual maintenance inspection revealed water was seeping out of the pool and into the ground underneath the building. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)
Iqaluit’s recreation director, Amy Elgersma, points out cracks in the swimming pool inside the Astro Hill complex Oct. 11. The cracks were noticed after an annual maintenance inspection revealed water was seeping out of the pool and into the ground underneath the building. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)

Instead of the familiar smell of chlorine and the sound of kids laughing and splashing, the swimming pool at Astro Hill in Iqaluit, operated by the City of Iqaluit, sits idle and hollowed out.

That’s because major cracks in the pool’s basin were found last week during an annual maintenance checkup, which revealed about 10 cracks in the pool’s concrete floor.

“Upon further investigation it turned out to be quite serious. I actually went down under the pool and there was steady leaking showers coming out from under the basin in the deep end,” said Iqaluit’s recreation director, Amy Elgersma.

The Iqaluit engineering firm, Concentric Associates International, is looking at the problem and plans to report back to the city with recommendations.

Elgersma said Concentric is consulting with concrete specialists to help find a solution to the problem.

But the city does not know when the report from the engineering company will be submitted.

“They’re working on it. They know it’s very important to us to get info to us as soon as possible. They’ve been diligent in working on it,” Elgersma said.

But the cracks have halted all swimming activity until further notice.

“Everything is delayed until we know more,” Elgersma said.

“We haven’t officially cancelled [classes or rentals] but everything is delayed at this point. Things like the Red Cross swimming lessons, Aquafit, adult lane swimming, schools rental groups, and daycares. There are a lot of groups that use the pool, so this will affect quite a few people in Iqaluit,” she said.

Elgersma said this just emphasizes the point that Iqaluit needs a new pool.

Iqaluit ratepayers will vote on a fancy new $40-million aquatic centre in a referendum during Iqaluit’s municipal election on Oct. 15.

“There’s no secret that Iqaluit needs a new pool. Besides not being able to meet the needs of the community, it’s been in the news earlier this year, about concerns about the pool and the state that it’s in,” Elgersma said.

“And at this point we don’t know what’s going to happen, how long it will take, how much it will cost. But it will probably be quite significant,” she said.

Iqaluit pays approximately $250,000 per year to lease the swimming pool. This just includes the lease and heat, not maintenance or staffing costs.

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