Today’s Poll

Aquatic Centre aims to open by June, user groups scrambling for options

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
February 22nd, 2013

By Suzy Hamilton, The Nelson Daily

The Regional District of Central Kootenay announced Thursday that the aquatic centre at the Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC) could open by June, as major user groups decide how or if to complete their seasons.

The aquatic centre has been closed since January 28 when a section of ceiling tiles fell into the pool. No one was hurt.

“The ceiling was not identified as faulty until it failed on January 28,” said Joe Chirico, NDCC General Manager of Community Services.

 “The ceiling was checked during a tile replacement in December, 2012 and no problems were identified.

“However, Fairbanks Architects have now checked the cause of the failure and the recommendation was to remove the t-bar ceiling from the aquatic centre, which we are now doing.”

The Nelson Neptune Swim Club met February 21 to decide how this new information affects the club.

“We are exploring possibilities for the summer,” said Paul Cowan who expects to have information shortly.

“It’s too far for families to drive to Castlegar and Trail.” The competitive season for the Neptunes begins May 1.

The Nelson Synchronized Swim Club is also still deciding how to move forward.

“There is a possibility we will cancel our season and start fresh in the fall, “ said head coach Erin Fitchett.  “But we are very happy with how the NDCC has kept us informed. We’re trying to keep this really positive.”

Fitchett said that after the pool closed the club took a look at the sport and why people became involved.

“We decided to take it to the land and we have used this time to improve our athlete’s flexibility through dance, core strength and gymnastics,” she said.

“We’re using this as an example of unexpected challenges and how athletes can overcome them.”

She added that it is too far for members to travel to Castlegar and Trail to swim as many live on the North Shore of Nelson.

The Kootenay Swim Club has moved all practices to Castlegar.

 “We swim six days a week, this can be quite taxing on the Grade four to 12,” said board member Stephanie Mager.

The club is comprised of 24 swimmers, five who come from Nelson.

“We lost one swimmer due to the commute,” she said.  “Our season ends June 1 and we only have a handful of swimmer who swim after that.”

Meanwhile, NDCC and the RDCK are reviewing options on how to get the pool back in action.

Chirico said there are three options.

One is to design the immediate repair of Nelson and District Community Complex’s aquatic centre ceiling.

Another is to complete an evaluation of the life cycle cost of retrofitting/repairing the aquatic centre versus building a new aquatic centre.

The third, he said, is to design a renovation of the Nelson and District Community Complex.

“By the middle of March, we expect to have the scope of the project fully defined and by March 31, we expect the damaged ceiling in the pool area to be removed and project costs to be confirmed,” he said.

“At that point, new construction can begin.”

The RDCK is now working with Peak Environmental Consulting, said Chirico.

Testing for hazardous material is complete and Peak is now defining the scope of work for ceiling   removal. To date, the hazard assessment has shown that 33 ceiling tiles sampled from the NDCC are asbestos-free, but that paint on girders in the pool area contains lead, a hazardous substance.

The RDCK expects the damaged ceiling and lead paint to be removed by March 31, when renovations to the pool area can begin. 

Three fulltime employees, 18 part time employees and 7 part time aqua fit instructors have been laid off.  

“We will know by February 21 how many employees have been temporarily laid off after this second round,” said Chirico. “

Once pool repairs are completed and the aquatic centre reopens, employees will be recalled in order of seniority and according to the collective agreement.”

It is estimated by the RDCK that ceiling repairs could cost $20,000-$100,000.

According to the RDCK website, the lost revenue between programs, admissions and rentals is anticipated to be approximately $60,000 until March 31, 2013, based upon 2012 revenues.  

The fitness centre, showers, change rooms and ice arena remain open for public use.

Pool passes can be redeemed for credit. 

Anyone with questions can phone the NDCC Customer Service Desk at 250-354-4386 or email





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