Mechanical issues related to a relocated drainage system have forced the closure of Canada Games Pool – and details are still a bit murky about when it will reopen.
The City of New Westminster has announced the current closure of the Canada Games Pool and the suspension of swimming and fitness services will continue until at least Oct. 31. The city expects to share more updates at the end of the month.
“Obviously it’s disappointing that we have had to close the Canada Games Pool because we recognize how important and well-used it is to the community,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote. “The problems we are facing are directly related to the major construction going on right next door with the replacement of the aquatic centre. Ultimately we had to relocate the drainage system for the pool, and unfortunately that system failed the last time we had a heavy rainfall.”
According to the city, recent heavy rains revealed a deficiency in the recently relocated drainage system that collects roof, surface, ground, pool discharge, and sanitary water for the Canada Games Pool site. This deficiency has caused flooding in critical mechanical areas of the pool, disabling electric motors that circulate, treat and clean the pool water and circulate domestic hot water throughout the building.
“What has become apparent to us is that system is not able to handle the volume of water that is going through it,” said Dean Gibson, the city’s director of parks and recreation. “As a result, water is backing up into a vault that’s located below grade, below the ground level.”
Without hot water, the facility is unable to sustain appropriate health and facility cleaning standards.
Gibson said the city appreciates the patience and understanding from those that have been directly impacted by the pool’s closure.
“We are doing our absolute best that we can, with all the people that can bring their expertise and knowledge to the project itself, to get this resolved and put back on track,” he said. “We fully appreciate this is our only aquatic venue in the community, so when it’s closed that option isn’t readily available or our residents. We want to be back in operation as much as any resident in our community does.”
Gibson said the first flooding incident occurred earlier in September, when the city had to delay the reopening of the pool, after its regular maintenance shutdown, by a couple of days. At that time, he said the city and the contractor “didn’t have enough pieces of the puzzle” to be able to determine of the source of the flooding.
Heavy rains later in September caused flooding in the vault that forced the facility to be closed.
Cote said the city is confident it’s found the solution needed to reopen the pool, but is now playing the “waiting game” until the parts arrive and the repairs can be done.
“The challenges that we are facing with the delay is that it is very specialized parts that are being looked at to be repaired to ensure that the drainage issue doesn’t continue into the future,” he told the Record. “Like anyone in construction knows, getting specialized parts is taking even longer than in normal periods. Our teams are optimistic that they have found a solution and a path forward, but it’s about getting the right parts in place to implement that solution and be able to open the pool safely.”
Some swimming lessons have been cancelled while others are tentatively expected to proceed. The city will be contacting all registered program users and rental groups directly to advise them of their program status.
Cote did not have details on the cost of the repairs, but said it’s likely the work would be funded through a maintenance reserve for facilities.
“We want the community to know that we want to do everything we can to get the Canada Games Pool open again. We know how important it is to the community,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge building a brand new aquatic centre right next door but we want to make sure that we are able to keep that facility operating while construction happens. We have hit a hiccup here but there appears to be a solution, and hopefully this can be implemented as soon as possible.”