Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City says corrosion triggered Sherbrook Pool's closure

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Turns out there's an upside to watching paint peel off the wall.

On Thursday, city officials confirmed Sherbrook Pool was suddenly closed in November after inspectors discovered 10 pillars supporting the roof had eroded. Iain Day, acting manager of municipal accommodations for the City of Winnipeg, said the pool's superintendent initially noticed paint peeling on the concrete tiles that encase the pillars. A city engineer was called in to look at the problem and found corrosion hidden beneath the concrete tiles, he said.

Sherbrook Pool was built in 1930 and the pillars are original, Day said, noting the situation will take time to fix since the city needs to preserve the concrete tiles. He declined to comment on when the pool might reopen, saying officials are waiting for the findings of an external engineering report.

"It's always important to pay attention to paint peeling," Day said.

The City of Winnipeg closed Sherbrook Pool Nov. 29 following an inspection and have since cancelled all swimming lessons at the facility. Officials initially said little about the reason for the abrupt closure, raising the ire of pool patrons and neighbourhood groups wondering when it might reopen.

City officials confirmed why the facility was closed after Coun. Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) spoke publicly about the facility's structural issues. Smith said officials weren't sure what the potential safety risk was and decided to shut down the pool as a precaution.

"They didn't know that until they saw paint coming off and they just dug down deep and found out at that point," he said, noting the city did not immediately disclose the reason for the closure to avoid getting people "excited" and staff are doing their utmost to resolve the issue.

Sherbrook Pool is the latest civic facility to be closed because it is unsafe to occupy.

In August, the city announced the sudden and immediate closure of the Civic Centre Parkade after engineers declared the Princess Street facility suffers from structural-integrity issues. The parkade was built in 1966 and was used by 220 monthly parkers, 134 Winnipeg police and city fleet vehicles, and another 100-plus casual parkers.

Last winter, City of Winnipeg officials closed the Maginot Arena for a month for mould remediation.

"The fact is we haven't maintained the pool or any of our pools or facilities in this city," Smith said.

Friends of Sherbrook Pool board president John Hutton said the pool's humidity problems were discovered in the 1990s and the city pledged to install a proper air exchange to address the problem. The community group previously raised $5 million to help the city redo the envelope of the pool, Hutton said, but city officials have not contacted them to discuss the current problems with the facility.

He called the lack of communication "disrespectful" as the community wants to be part of the solution to keep the pool open.

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 21, 2012 B3

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Updated on Friday, December 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM CST: adds photo

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