May 27th, 2024

Big Marble rink maintenance ahead of schedule, could open in May as pool closes for repairs

By BRENDAN MILLER on April 17, 2024.

The indoor swimming pool at the Big Marble Go Centre will be closed for repairs beginning May 15 and is expected to reopen in September.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

bmiller@medicinehatnews.com

Public Service Committee members heard Monday the ice arena at the Big Marble Go Centre could reopen sometime in May as regular maintenance required every two years on the facility’s ice plant is ahead of its originally scheduled reopening of July.

City officials say the ice could reopen around the same time the indoor swimming pool is scheduled to close for four months to complete major upgrades scheduled from May 15 to Sept. 15.

“That’s no guarantee but that’s what it’s looking like right now,” says Scott Richter, business and innovation manager with the city. “I don’t know if it’s the beginning of May, middle of May. So far it looks like the beginning to mid area.”

The city is planning to extend hours at Hill Pool and keep Crestwood Pool open during weekends to accommodate swimmers and lessons during the four-month closure of the pool.

Once repairs begin May 15, patrons at the Big Marble Go Centre will receive a 15 per cent discount on admission and annual pass holders will receive an additional month on their membership.

Under the city’s 2023-24 capital budget, $2.8 million was set aside to repair the pools’ degrading wave surge tanks, replace piping and waterproof the surge tanks and suction pits.

To improve safety the city is adding a direct-access hatch to the surge tank area in case of worker injury.

“So if somebody did get hurt down there you could easily lift them or cable them straight up,” explained project manager Mike Hirsch. “Rather than pulling them across a bunch of pipes.”

The steam room walls will be replaced as well, as Hirsch explains water has degraded material causing leaks.

Ten large sand-based pool filters will also be replaced while the pool is shut down, as well as minor interior renovations that include replacing wood and stainless steel rails and finishings.

Ozone piping that was installed with the pool will also be rebuilt.

“This is preventive maintenance so that we don’t encounter any shutdowns or disrepair,” says Richter. “We don’t want interruption during the regular season, especially in our busy seasons with swimming lessons, lane swimming and swimming competitions, we don’t want to be shutting the pool down.

“So that’s why we are doing this now. It’s not overly convenient for people but it’s a necessity to ensure there are minimal disruptions throughout the rest of the year.”

City officials say they are also looking into opening Echo Dale Swim Lake earlier, permitting weather. The YMCA is also extending pool hours.

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