Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit January 11, 2017 - 8:29 am

Mark your calendars: Iqaluit’s aquatic centre opens Jan. 26

Official opening to be followed by two free days of use before fees kick in

The lap pool, one of two main pools, gets finishing touches in December. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
The lap pool, one of two main pools, gets finishing touches in December. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Iqaluit's $40.5 million aquatic and fitness facility, more than four years in the making, is set to open in two weeks, on Jan. 26. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Iqaluit's $40.5 million aquatic and fitness facility, more than four years in the making, is set to open in two weeks, on Jan. 26. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

Get your water wings ready Iqalungmiut—the new pool is about to open.

Coun. Jason Rochon announced at a city council meeting Jan. 10 that Iqaluit’s new aquatic centre will officially open Jan. 26 with speeches, a ribbon-cutting, cake to eat and self-guided tours for anyone who wants to take a look around.

The celebration gets underway on the front steps of the new aquatic centre, next to city hall, at noon Jan. 26. Then at 3:30 p.m., the pool and gym will be open for use so bring your bathing suits and running shoes. Admission for the first two days, Jan. 26 and Jan. 27, will be free to the public.

City councillors debated the fee structure at a council meeting Dec. 13 with some councillors balking at the proposed annual memberships—$1,680 for a family pass and $2,100 for both pool and gym membership.

The new fee schedule then passed third reading at a Dec. 28 council meeting.

Coun. Terry Dobbin, a staunch critic of the aquatic centre’s huge price tag, seems to have softened his stance now that the fancy new facility is ready for use.

He said during a break in the Jan. 10 meeting that the opening of the $40.5 million centre is sure to be welcomed by winter-weary Iqalungmiut who have been without a pool since the old one in the Astro Hill Complex closed in 2012 due to expensive repairs.

“A lot of people were wondering, so they’ll be excited about that. I’m sure they’ve been eagerly anticipating it,” Dobbin said. “I’m excited about it.”

They’ve also been without a fitness centre since mid-December, when Atii Fitness closed to move into its new location in the aquatic centre.

The cadillac facility, which will include a six-lane Federation Internationale de Natation standard pool, a wading pool and two fitness rooms and which is the most expense infrastructure project ever undertaken by the City of Iqaluit, was not without controversy.

The idea of spending so many millions on a recreation facility met with fierce opposition in the early days from some councillors—namely Dobbin and former councillor Kenny Bell—who thought the city should be spending money on roads, water and sewage and other much-needed infrastructure instead.

Ratepayers—those who own property in Iqaluit—were asked to give their approval to borrowing up to $40 million for the aquatic centre in an October 2012 vote and they did just that. Of the 49 per cent who cast ballots, 227 voted yes and 172 voted no.

With that, city councillors began planning the massive project, handing the contract over to Stantec Architecture Ltd., designers of public infrastructure worldwide, who promised the facility would garner a “silver” Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ranking, one up from the minimum “certified” level.

But even former councillor Bell, who voted against spending money on the pool, admitted that while his job as a councillor was to ensure fiscal responsibility, he and his young sons are looking forward to using the pool once it opens.

The grand opening Jan. 26 will be preceded by a media tour in the morning. More details of the opening events, and future pool use, are set to be released in the coming days.

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(13) Comments:

#1. Posted by Happy on January 11, 2017

Let this be a positive thing from the city of Iqaluit for it’s residents.
After all the negativity before and during construction of the pool lets give thanks to the hard work of the recreation department for making the pool a reality I know all my family will enjoy it!

#2. Posted by Confused on January 11, 2017

Help me understand these prices that you quoted. “$1,680 for a family pass and $2,100 for both pool and gym membership” is this a pool and gym pass for a family??

Are you referring to family prices only? How much for an individual-non family pool and gym pass???

#3. Posted by Habs on January 11, 2017

I will be practicing my diving!

#4. Posted by muff diver on January 11, 2017

Why is there a fence around the perimeter of the pool?

#5. Posted by Swimmer on January 11, 2017

Thousands of kids in Iqaluit are happy. They plan to live in that swimming pool because they love swimming.

But the really happy Iqalimmiut are the taxi drivers.  There’s no parking at the pool and very limited parking at the old arena around the corner.  If you don’t live close to the pool, you and your family will have to use taxis!

$2,100 sounds like a lot for an annual family pass.  But a family of 5 will pay $7 x 5 x 2 = $70 per day for a taxi there and back.  My kids will insist on going every day, so that’s 365 x $70 = $24,550 for taxis.  No wonder the taxi drivers are so happy.

Add the $2100 for membership and you get an annual pool cost of $26,650 for a family of 5.  Except there are families in Iqaluit living on $12,000 a year.  No pool for them.

There’s always been 2 classes of residents in Iqaluit, but now the line will be much, much clearer.  Either your family has $25k a year for swimming or it doesn’t.  Is your daddy one of the 127 who voted for the pool, or not?

#6. Posted by Andy on January 12, 2017

# 5
Easy solution, buy a car or walk. Your financial calculation is a little off, don’t you think. Do you think it would be better to have a free taxi ride and free access to the pool for residents on SA? lol

#7. Posted by Not a Swimmer on January 12, 2017

#5 I hope you have nothing to do with accounting, your calculations are very very wrong.

#8. Posted by M on January 12, 2017

#4 Looks temporary to me.  My guess is that it’s to prevent workers from falling in while construction was ongoing.  I’d expect to see it removed by now.

#9. Posted by gen on January 12, 2017

looks AWSOME!!!!!!!!!

#10. Posted by Colin on January 12, 2017

Looks wonderful. However … it’s too bad the entire operating costs can’t come from sources other than user fees.

Granted that some people have plenty of money. But it’s guaranteed that many of those who most need to use it, even rich people and perhaps especially rich people and even more especially their children, either can’t or won’t find the money for the fees. Other sources? Well, some from taxes, unfortunately. But also from the budgets for education, police, justice, prisons and health care. How much does a single medevac cost? Or keeping someone in jail for a year?

Mental health and its costs? To have healthy minds you need healthy bodies.

#11. Posted by Jim on January 12, 2017

I believe any organization that is interested in the health of it’s beneficiaries - mental or physical, employers that are interested in promoting an active lifestyle that will yield dividends in more productive workers can now buy passes to give as incentives, bonuses or just to their and society’s benefit.  NTI? GN? QIA?  Anybody?!

#12. Posted by Accountant on January 12, 2017

This pool will be used regularly by those who live close, those with lots of money and those who work at city hall.

The rest of us will use it very occasionally.

#13. Posted by tina on January 15, 2017

oh i hope the road fire fighters and swimming pool are not going to have rooad sink road near future

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