Williams Lake residents took their first dive into viewing what the new West Fraser Aquatic Centre will look like Wednesday.
An open house, hosted by the Cariboo Regional District, the city and staff from the design consultant team, Tango Management and VDA Architects Ltd., posed an opportunity for pool users and city residents to review the proposed concept drawings and ask questions on the Sam Ketcham Pool upgrade project.
John Bowser, director for Tango Management, explained he expects the project to take roughly 18 months to complete, beginning in April of 2016.
Both the current lane lap pool, the leisure pool and the swirl pool at the SKP will be torn down and three completely new pools — with new pool tanks — will be installed.
The existing lane lap pool will be converted into a leisure pool featuring multiple bells and whistles, while the new lane lap pool will sit in place of the current leisure pool. The new swirl pool will be upgraded from an eight-person capacity to a 20-person capacity.
Bowser said during construction there will be no pool shutdown as change room and fitness room upgrades will begin first, followed by the new lane lap pool, then the leisure pool.
“When you come in there you’re going to feel like you’re walking into a brand new complex,” Bowser said.
During the open house, questions were asked about accessibility options for the pool.
“My belief is we’ll be going with hydraulic lifts, but it’s still under discussion,” Bowser said.
“You could have a ramp, soft stairs which would be extended and have less depth, plus you have the chair assist if you want it.”
Another question was asked about the use of local businesses and contractors during the construction phase.
“We try to rightsize the contract so we can maximize the inclusivity of the community,” Bowser said. “Seventy per cent goes through local contractors and suppliers. Obviously there will be jobs where that can’t happen … but we’re constantly working in smaller communities [on projects].
“This is a passion for us. We love doing them because recreation facilities, everyone uses them.”