Doug Ross

Doug Ross

Tour reveals rec centre realities

Tour highlights problems as well as plusses of Vernon Recreation Complex

Many politicians are resigned to a costly bill at the Vernon Recreation Complex.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members toured the complex Tuesday to determine if $1.7 million in repairs should proceed or if their next step should be replacement.

“We can’t afford a new one,” said director Gyula Kiss.

There has been damage to the pool walls and roof system because exterior finishing installed in 1993 failed and cold exterior air has clashed with humid air from the pool. Also, the dehumidification system was undersized when installed and it was shut off in 1998 because of expensive repairs required to keep the device running.

The other problem is the original heating lines were not installed correctly when the complex was built in 1965, and this led to the lines rotting out.

Line repairs mean the concrete floor in the auditorium must be jack-hammered to provide access.

“If we have the Queen Silver Star event or someone’s fundraiser, we don’t want to interrupt that,” said Doug Ross, recreation services manager.

When the GVAC board was made aware of the situation in January, some officials suggested that constructing a new complex may be a more financially viable alternative.

“We have to look at all of the information but repair seems to be the least expensive option,” said Mike Macnabb, GVAC chairperson, Tuesday.

Director Rob Sawatzky isn’t committing to any specific action until a special GVAC meeting Thursday.

“We have to meet with staff and go through the financials,” he said.

“My gut feeling is I want the most cost-effective option.”

Staff indicated Tuesday that only half of the capacity of the pool area is currently used.

“We could accommodate a lot more people swimming here,” said Ross.

“This facility has a lot of years left in it.”

Studies have indicated that Greater Vernon’s population may not require a second aquatic centre until 2026 or 2030.

Staff will recommend to directors Thursday that there be a needs assessment and feasibility study for a new aquatics/recreation complex by 2015.