Central Huron to seek input on Clinton pool replacement options
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Central Huron Council is going to gauge the interest of ratepayers before proceeding with a new pool in Clinton.
Facilities Manager Steve Duizer discussed the issue with council at its Feb. 22 meeting, saying that a 2021 inspection of the pool made it clear that it wouldn’t be allowed to open the following year.
“During the 2021 inspection by Huron Perth Public Health, the inspector noted that without substantial repairs to the pool and cement deck, it would not pass future inspections for opening,” Duizer said in his report to council. “The entire cement deck requires replacement due to heaving from the historic leak, as well as repairs required at various locations in the large pool walls. The small pool also requires a second main drain added to meet code before it would be permitted to reopen.”
Duizer also noted that the issues were not unknown to the municipality, as discussions with various cement contractors had taken place in 2019 and 2020 due to concerns with the cement deck. At the time, Duizer said, most of the contractors recommended not replacing the pool pad without also upgrading the in-ground pool plumbing.
“In addition, throughout the 2019 and 2021 seasons, numerous components of the pool mechanical system began failing,” Duizer said in his report. “Two pumps required replacement to get through 2019, the solar heating system requires both a pump and roof panel replacements, and the main pool sand filter is well past its expected life cycle and an attempt to get some replacement parts in 2021 were unsuccessful, due to its age. During the 2021 season, there was evidence of a new leak in the underground plumbing, based on water consumption.”
He added that the pool’s current turnover rate of four (the number of times the water exchanges through the filter system every 24 hours) would no longer be acceptable by Huron Perth Public Health.
The plumbing and pump system would have to be upgraded to filter six times per 24 hours, he said, adding that the current rate was “grandfathered” due to the age of the pool.
In addition, Duizer said the pool guard house and change rooms will need substantial renovations in order to meet accessibility standards by 2025, with the entire change room area needing to be redesigned and rebuilt in order to meet the incoming regulations.
Duizer then presented council with four options, ranging in cost from $200,000 up to $1.66 million.
The first option recommended a complete rebuild of the pools and renovation of the pool house, requiring the demolition of the pool pad and the excavation and replacement of all plumbing with upgraded sizing, replacement of the large pool pump and sand filter for both pools and construction of a more accessible pool house area.
He noted that while the existing pool shells have been determined to be in good shape, considering their age, and could be used in the redesign, he was still recommending full replacement.
That option could cost an estimated $660,000 without pool shell replacement or $1.66 million with pool shell replacement.
In the second option, Duizer recommended excavating the entire area and replacing it with one smaller pool at an estimated cost of between $600,000 and $1 million.
The third option would see the area excavated and the pools filled in to be replaced with a fenced, multi-purpose sports pad for activities like tennis, pickleball and basketball. The building, Duizer said, could be renovated for storage, which would compensate for the lost storage as a result of the potential Clinton Raceway grandstand rebuild.
A variation of the third option would be to excavate the pools and return the space to grass while renovating the building for storage.
The sports pad option would cost $435,000, while the naturalization option would cost $200,000.
The fourth option, at a cost of $375,000, would be to replace the pad and filters and upgrade the chlorination system to be safer. Duizer said the option would include identifying and repairing the existing plumbing and re-pouring the cement pad.
He noted, however, that the proposed work could exceed the estimate, due to the unknown nature of the buried plumbing infrastructure.
The option would also include replacing the large pool filter and pump and installing all required drain covers and adding a second drain to the small pool and renovating the pool house to meet incoming accessibility standards.
Duizer also brought forward some further points for consideration. He noted that the municipality has been having an increasingly difficult time attracting lifeguard staff, an impact that is also being felt by neighbouring municipalities. He also added that most commercial pool companies, as of last year, were booking projects up to two years in advance, meaning that if any work is to be done at the pools, a realistic timeline dictates that it would be unlikely to be completed before 2024 at the earliest.
Council discussed the issue briefly, recommending that council put the issue to the public for input. Members didn’t determine a specific method of outreach, but suggested potentially setting up a display at the Mayor’s Mingle this summer. A date has yet to be determined for the event.