Questions arise over pool work

Tough questions are being asked over conditions at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

Tough questions are being asked over conditions at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee approved $1.7 million in repairs at the facility, but some politicians are wondering why the work is needed when the pool was only upgraded and expanded in 1993.

“There were construction mistakes made when the addition was done. Are we conceding we won’t try for compensation?” said director Rob Sawatzky.

There has been damage to the pool walls and roof because exterior finishing installed in 1993 failed and cold exterior air has clashed with humid air from the pool.

“We will talk to a lawyer to see if anything is possible,” said Trafford Hall, Regional District of North Okanagan administrator, of pursuing compensation from contractors.

Chairperson Mike Macnabb is also questioning how the building received final inspections.

“I’m surprised that an architect would sign off because in my world as a professional engineer, a professional engineer signs off and is responsible forever,” he said.

Also needing to be addressed is the pool’s dehumidification system, which was undersized when installed. It was shut off by staff in 1998 because of expensive repairs required to keep the device running.

“That was a major decision made by someone,” said director Gyula Kiss.

Current staff were unwilling to point fingers or say who may be responsible for what was done since 1993.

“It’s just something that happened. I wasn’t there at the time,” said Jim Coughlin, acting facilities manager.

Further discussions about previous actions taken at the pool went behind closed doors as they involved labour.

The $1.7 million in repairs also includes replacing the original heating lines that were not installed correctly when the complex was built in 1965. This had led to the lines rotting out.

Director Bob Fleming believes that what led to disrepair at the complex is somewhat irrelevant and there was no choice but to fix the damage.

“Our goal is to move forward and make sure a facility that is heavily used is useable,” he said.

Macnabb agrees that the $1.7 million expenditure was unavoidable.

“We have to provide the service to the public. We’re not going to just shut it down,” he said.