Cori Boguski and Sharon Reece’s presentation to Council back on Monday, July 16 helped save and will eventually resurrect the wading pools at Chilko and Heron Park from being decommissioned.
At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on July 23rd Council was supplied with a memo about what it would take to bring the wading pools up to code. The motion for the pools to be maintained and kept open was called and carried. Council had set aside $25,000 to demolish the local landmarks but that money will now be put towards restoring the pools.
“We had a budget of $25,000 for demolition of the wading pools which we will now put into repairing the pools. We will see how far that money will go and the Lions Club can also help,” said mayor Joanne Monaghan.
The question being asked by many was why not wait to start construction on the wading pools until next summer. Being already August and the average annual closing date for the pools being August 17, that leaves little or no time for citizens to enjoy the pools after the two week construction period.
Monaghan explained how moving forward with the project this year instead of waiting until 2013 did have its advantages. They already had the money set aside for demolition at their disposable and starting construction this month will give them a better idea of any additional costs needed to bring the pools up to code. She also mentioned that the two weeks they put in now will put them ahead when they continue the project next summer.
“I’m sure we will have to put some more money into it, but if we can get something happening this year and then go further next year is our goal,” said Monaghan.
The issue of typical weathering such as frost and thawing in regards to having this winter set back any work being done now, Monaghan feels would be minimal.
“When you have frost and thawing it damages things but the pools have done pretty well over the years,” said Monaghan. “They do have glitches like rebar showing and things have to be covered up to make it safe.”
Leisure Services Director Martin Gould and his staff will be given the task of restoring the pools and are scheduled to begin construction immediately.
The mayor did not rule out the eventual possibility of Kitimat building a spray park. Unlike the wading pools, a spray park would not have the headaches over having a lifeguard on duty and the uncertainty of having a summer worker on call pending weather.
“In the future council may decide that it wants to do a spray park instead and that would be very good, kids really enjoy those and it’s much safer,” explained Monaghan.
The memo Council were presented with reported costs of operating the pools in past years, which Councillor Mary Murphy described as ‘reasonable.’ However, it was the repair bill that raised some eyebrows with costs estimated from $75,000 to $250,000, citing the majority of repairs were due to ‘tripping hazards.’
“I think it’s reasonable, there might be something we can do to raise some funds to keep them,” said Murphy.
The reason for the major discrepancy in the cost estimate was dependent on the guidance of Council. They have the option of patching up and repairing the pools or elect to dismantle them and build a spray park which would require no lifeguards. Despite the higher costs, the spray park could easily be the best long term solution.