City of Powell River councillors have passed a recommendation to make a grant application to replace the roof in the Powell River Recreation Complex aquatic centre, and to make accessibility improvements.
At the June 16 city council meeting, councillors voted to approve a grant application to the strategic priorities fund for $6 million. Further, they voted for a city share in the project funding, amounting to $478,315 from the Powell River Community Forest reserve fund, and $200,000 from the Canada community building fund. Council also voted that the city provide overall grant management for the project.
Councillor George Doubt said this is a much-needed maintenance package for the pool.
“It’s going to give it a new roof and provide accessibility into the pool for the many seniors who use the pool, and it’s going to be an investment in the continued future of this very valuable facility for the community,” said Doubt.At the June 14 committee of the whole meeting, manager of recreation Neil Pukesh said the purpose of his report was to provide an update on the aquatic roof study that was completed last year, as well as to inform councillors of the exciting grant opportunity that can help fund this project.Pukesh said the aquatic centre initiative started in 2019 when the department came to council seeking approval for funding for an architectural review of the recreation complex.“The goal was pretty simple,” said Pukesh. “We wanted to find ways to improve accessibility, extend the life expectancy of the building, and improve overall functionality.”
In, October 2020, an architectural firm presented an architectural rehabilitation plan.“This plan, under your adoption, has been very instrumental in securing a number of grants, helped out by our sustainability planner,” said Pukesh. “It’s a very important document that has been used to guide us forward for future grant opportunities.”Pukesh said the city is now in the 47th year of the recreation complex’s operation.“It’s important we understand where we are going with this building so we can extend the life expectancy,” said Pukesh.
He said the roof review and accessibility were major items in the plan.“The aquatic centre was the major concern,” said Pukesh. “What the report told us is that the exterior roofing membrane needs replacement – that’s the top side of the roof.
“What we didn’t know is the structural integrity of the beams and the roof deck system.”Pukesh said the department came to council last year to seek approval to conduct a thorough architectural and structural engineering review of the roof deck system. In October 2021, the city was presented a report on updated construction cost estimates, he added.Pukesh, in his written report to the committee of the whole, stated that the architectural firm is recommending that the entire roof deck structure be replaced. He said the project cost is estimated to have a value of $6.678 million.“The question is, how do we fund this?” asked Pukesh. “The good news is the Union of British Columbia Municipalities has announced a strategic priority fund initiative that provides a 100 per cent funding for sports and recreation infrastructure projects up to $6 million.”
He said the remainder of the funds could be leveraged from the Canada community building fund and the community forest.“This whole project can be funded 100 per cent through grant funds, so it is not having an impact on property taxes,” said Pukesh.
Councillor Maggie Hathaway asked if there was any estimate on how long the aquatic centre would have to be closed in order to rebuild the roof.Pukesh said the impact would be around eight to nine months.“This is a project we cannot do while operating at the same time,” said Pukesh. “It’s a pretty significant project. We will do accessibility improvements at the same time to see if there are opportunities to make a gradual ramp entry into the leisure pool as well as to the main pool.”Pukesh said if the city is successful in obtaining the grant, planning would happen in 2023, with construction slated in spring or early summer of 2024.