Fate of Kinsmen pool delayed until 2018
The decision on the future of Pembroke's Kinsmen Pool will be left to the next city council.
Council learned last week that the pool enclosure is in bad shape according to engineers. Suffering from corrosion, the current poor condition of the 40-year-old building has been exasperated by the current moisture levels inside the building which were likely attributable to the overall construction of the building envelope combined with the performance of the HVAC systems.
A 2016 report from HP Engineering cautioned that based on the observed condition of the wall and roof structures of the pool enclosure, future structural issues could arise if timely repairs were not
undertaken. The administration building, despite its age of around 60 years, is generally in good to fair condition with some localized areas requiring short term attention in order to prolong the useful service life of that area of the building, according to the report.
“It's certainly done its duty for the community but nothing lasts forever,” said chief administrative officer Terry Lapierre. “There are a number of significant issues with the pool that have to be addressed.”
The city could spend $700,000 to rehabilitate the current structure, however, staff indicated that work will not be adequate enough to do the upgrades needed to extend the life of the building. Lapierre noted that preliminary estimates on a new pool facility would be in the area of between $7 million and $10 million but the actual cost would be dependent on the design outcome and the wishes of the community.
Council agreed that to finance a new facility will take federal or provincial funding, as well as partnering with other stakeholders or municipalities that use the Kinsmen pool. The enormous cost rules out fundraising the entire amount, while debenturing could be an option, said Mayor Mike LeMay.
“Our feeling is we should be moving in the direction of a new pool,” said LeMay.
Reluctant to kick the can down the road to another council, which will take office in December 2018, Deputy Mayor Ron Gervais conceded the ratepayers of Pembroke may have to shoulder the bulk of the cost as he didn't think neighbouring municipalities, such as Laurentian Valley and Whitewater Region, financially contributing to a new pool.
“I can't see them stroking a cheque,” said Gervais.
Other members of council felt staff should explore other options as pools currently exist at the Best Western and Clarion hotels and other locations. Councillor Andrew Plummer said they must consider the cost to residents in any final decision on the Kinsmen Pool.
“How much are we willing to saddle the taxpayer,” said Plummer. “What can we do that is feasibly acceptable.”
“It shouldbe the ratepayers and the ratepayers who make the decision,” added Councillor Pat Lafreniere, hinting the fate of the pool should be debated in the next municipal election. “They can make the decision whether their tax dollars are invested in a pool.”
Council directed staff to move forward on a feasibility study, conceptual design, and public meeting
to eventually get construction estimates to potentially move forward on a new facility. A report will be back to council by next September.