$1.5M Harbour Pool universal change room moves ahead

When it comes to which option to choose for the new Harbour Pool universal change room, city council opted to go with the priciest one.

Administration originally recommended council go with option one for the construction of a new universal change room at Harbour Pool during the Feb. 13 meeting but after some discussion the decision was made to go with option two instead. City manager Troy Fleming said there were only slight differences between the first two options for administration. One of those differences included the price tag with option two having a total project budget of $1.5 million compared to option one’s $1.3 million.

By itself, the change room for option two is priced out as an additional $470,000 and will be paid through the provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant, which currently has an uncommitted balance of $6.9 million.

Coun. Lisa Makin said the second option just made more sense.

“When I look between option one and two,… the only benefit I can see is that we can construct it now,” she said. “You have customers going to two different places in option one. The viewing deck is lost there, making the lobby quite small. Whereas option two just feels more like a complimentary addition to the pool. I do realize it is a few hundred thousand dollars more and we would have to wait until the pool shut down to do it but if this is the pool we are going to commit to for the next 10 or so years, before we talk about aquatics facility we should do this right the first time.”

Many other members on council echoed Makin’s comments and the decision was made to switch to option two despite the price difference.

The goal of the universal change room is to provide a barrier free space to make it easier for people who need help from others such as families with older children who require assistance from parents or caregivers or those with accessibility needs.

Option two would be at the north and west of the existing change areas and would add 2,400 square-feet of new space, which will slightly reduce the existing men’s change area. The option includes eight change stalls and a barrier free change space along with direct access to the pool deck. This means there will only be one point of control for deck access. Administration described this option as being the best in order to meet the needs of people.

Now that the option has been picked, the construction is expected to start within 12 weeks. Grant Schaffer, the city’s projects manager, said the pool could be closed at most two months during the annual January shut down to complete the final touches. But Mayor Gale Katchur wanted assurances from administration that the closure timeline will be adhered to and mentioned the renovation delays at the curling club.

“When you say you can have this done in that timeframe it will be done,” she added. “I would like to know that there’s going to be accountability that it is not going to be shut down for any longer time period than that because our reputation isn’t that good for meeting timeframes.”

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