Old Iqaluit swimming pool repairs pegged at $160,000
“The City is being held by the neck with the financial issues”
The cost of repairing the ailing swimming pool at Astro Hill operated by the city of Iqaluit will total about $160,000, Iqaluit city councillors learned at their Nov. 6 meeting.
That’s what engineering firm Concentric Associates International said in a report after looking at cracks in the pool’s basin that have halted swimming programs in Iqaluit since October.
City officials found out about the damage to the pool after annual maintenance revealed cracks in the concrete basin of the pool spanning every two metres, Iqaluit’s director of recreation, Amy Elgersma, said Nov. 6.
Concentric Associates recommended repairing the cracks by injecting polyurethane into them, which should allow the pool to be used for the next three years, Elgersma said.
That repair work could take up to two weeks.
The City also has another option, which involves installing a type of pool liner with a 10-year warranty. This would cost the city about $110,000, and would take about two weeks to install.
But it’s not certain if that option is feasible.
“More information is needed to find out about this product and if it will be suitable for the pool,” Elgersma said.
Elgersma said the City has applied for funding from the Government of Nunavut’s sport and recreation unit for funding under the facility improvement fund.
If successful with its application, the city would receive $53,000 — the most it can apply for — and about one-third of the estimated $160,000 repair option.
Elgersma said the owners of the swimming pool, Nunastar Properties Inc., have “indicated that they don’t think it’s their responsibility to do this.”
Nunastar also stated before the cracks emerged in the swimming pool that if repairs ware needed, the company won’t invest in fixing it, Elgersma said.
This angered city councillor Joanasie Akumalik.
“The City is being held by the neck with the financial issues,” Akumalik said.
“I would like to ask Nunastar Properties, or write to MLAs. They have to help residents, they are representatives of the Nunavut government, and we should try to get funding.”
The City of Iqaluit is still paying rent to Nunastar for the dormant swimming pool. The City pays approximately $250,000 a year to lease the pool.
But the lease for the swimming pool is set to expire March 31, 2013.
The City also has the option of not repairing the pool, and letting the lease expire.
This would leave Iqaluit’s swimmers high and dry until the new aquatic centre gets up and running, in June 2016 at the earliest.
“One of the factors in moving forward to decide whether to renew the lease or not is if the City decides to invest in these repairs,” Elgersma said.
“Once we have all the information we need, the recreation department will come back to council with a request for a decision to repair the pool,” she said.
Swimming programs have been cancelled because of the damage, meaning the City of Iqaluit will issue about $8,500 in refunds to pool users who have signed up for swimming programs.
Mayor John Graham said he took a tour of the swimming pool with Elgersma.
“I think recognizing that 2,000 swims per month, an aquatics program that’s running from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night, I’m just saying we really look forward to receiving your report in two weeks, and we’ll go from there,” said Graham.