Board debates options for recreation complex

Multi-million-dollar repairs to the Vernon Recreation Complex aren’t guaranteed.

Multi-million-dollar repairs to the Vernon Recreation Complex aren’t guaranteed.

Staff wants the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to approve $2 million for the pool’s dehumidification system and the building’s heating lines Thursday. But one official isn’t sure if that will occur.

“We don’t know what we’re getting into,” said Mike Macnabb, GVAC chairperson, who will tour the complex with other directors Tuesday.

“The repairs could be sufficient and push into the future so we don’t have to replace the building but I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Does staff know of anything else (other work that is required)?”

GVAC was informed of capital deficiencies in January and it was decided at the time to investigate both repairs and possibly replacing the facility.

Staff will recommend Thursday that they proceed with a needs assessment and feasibility study for a new aquatics/recreation complex by 2015.

“I have complete confidence that staff and GVAC are looking at all aspects of this issue, both in the short-term and long-term,” said Patrick Nicol, Regional District of North Okanagan chairperson.

Nicol appears to lean towards repairs at this point.

“That’s a very fundamental building and it’s well-used. We just have to examine the pool area,” he said.

“I’m not sure we could go to a rebuild based on the limited information we have now.”

Macnabb isn’t sure if repairs are a more cost-effective use of tax dollars than replacement.

“Two million dollars is $2 million,” he said.

No matter the option, director Catherine Lord insists action must be taken to ensure the recreational needs of residents.

“It’s one of the big facilities in terms of use for our residents,” she said.

The dehumidification system was apparently undersized when the pool area was constructed in 1993. The unit was shut off in about 1998 because of expensive repairs needed to keep it running.

“This has resulted in damage to the structure of the swimming pool walls and roof system,” states a staff report.

According to staff, the original heating lines were not installed correctly when the complex was built in 1965, and this had led to the lines rotting out.