The future of Williams Lake’s pool is uncertain; however, council moved Tuesday night to shore up a decision on the complex’s future that includes maintaining the troubled, 30-year-old Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool as is for now and starting to plan to replace it.
Discussions around the pool’s future have been ongoing since a tank leak — identified earlier this summer — closed the facility for six weeks. The leak was repaired, but the City, which manages the facility, and the Cariboo Regional District, which owns the facility, have been told that the repair was temporary and that a permanent solution for the aged structure needs to be sought.
“It has come to our attention at joint (joint committee of CRD and City representatives) that we need to make a decision to start planning to replace the pool,” said Mayor Kerry Cook. “This is the beginning of quite a process.”
A report submitted to council identifies three options. The chosen ones: maintaining the pool for now is uncertain, but identified as the lowest cost option; the other chosen option proposes the pool as a stand-alone project or one that could be part of a larger facility. The report goes on to say, “The recent six-week unplanned shutdown is evidence of the type of issues that should be expected on a more regular basis if significant action is not taken as the pool infrastructure continues to age. The cement lining has begun to deteriorate, with large cracks developing at key locations in the tanks.”
It further cites problems with small cracks in the main tank, wading pool and hot tub tanks and the tiling within the pool tanks. It goes on to say the largest unknown is the piping below the pool itself which is inaccessible and is beginning to separate. The mechanical equipment that runs the pool is also in need of complete replacement.
The underground piping is not believed to be repairable due to its location, size and design of the pool. Other costs are estimated to be: $300,000 to 400,000 to remove the tiles form the tanks, repair the concrete below and retile the tanks; and $150,000 – 250,000 to replace the aging mechanical equipment. On the pool’s future, Coun. Geoff Bourdon said, “I think we need to be more prudent in planning further ahead. If something happens tomorrow and we can’t fix it the pool will be down two to three years.
“I think it’s desperate. We need to be much more proactive in our budgets.”
Coun. Laurie Walters agreed, adding the necessity of community engagement. She hoped the City could take advantage of the premier’s recent infrastructure funding announcement for recreation in communities. “We need to plan ahead and engage the community.”
Coun. Surinderpal Rathor told council that it had to start saving.
“We need to work diligently on saving. We need millions of dollars.This is an excellent idea. We need to start a dialogue. Let’s see what the community wants.”
Any decision on the pool or recreation complex’s future must be decided jointly between the City and the CRD.