Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sherbrook Pool future in doubt due to repairs

Roof repairs would cost $1.05 million

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The city may ask West End residents if they want the pool to reopen before deciding whether to repair it.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

The city may ask West End residents if they want the pool to reopen before deciding whether to repair it. Photo Store

The city may ask area residents if they want Sherbrook Pool before diving in and paying more than $1 million to stop the building from collapsing.

A report released Friday says it would cost $1.05 million to make the repairs that forced the pool to close last November.

The pool was deemed a safety hazard because its roof was in danger of collapsing. The report says it would cost $345,000 to shore up the corroded roof columns.

The report says it would make sense at the same time to spend another $1.6 million to replace the facility's aging HVAC, mechanical and electrical systems before opening it again.

If those repairs are made, the pool should last another 20 years as long as an estimated $3.5 million is spent during that time to maintain it.

Coun. Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre), whose ward includes the pool, said he supports asking the public whether they want the city to repair the pool.

"There are some people in the neighbourhood who don't even know the pool exists, so it will help with communication, too. I think the community will be very supportive. We don't have many recreational facilities in my ward."

The report says 38,953 people used Sherbrook Pool before it closed in November, down from 47,165 people in 2008, the second-lowest attendance of the city's 11 pools. After swimming fees are factored in, it cost the city $617,000 last year to run the pool, or $15.85 per swimmer.

Sherbrook Pool is the city's second top pool needing major renovations, behind the Transcona Centennial Pool, which city council agreed to fix.

Iain Day, the city's manager of municipal accommodations, said the major repairs needed for Sherbrook Pool are not unexpected for a building that opened 81 years ago.

"It's the oldest pool in the city... it says public baths (on the) outside -- that's an old term," Day said.

But Day said what's unexpected is the severity of the corrosion on 11 of the 12 roof support pillars, which were covered by ceramic work.

"What we found was hidden from view," he said.

"(City workers) spotted paint peeling and then we found out it was more than that... it is a moist environment."

Day said the city is paying $2,763 a month for the equipment needed to shore up the roof. As well, it is costing about $40,000 a month to heat the building and for fire protection and security.

Day said if the decision is made to repair the building, including sandblasting corrosion off the pillars and welding new steel to them, the pool could reopen six months after the work begins.

The Friends of Sherbrook Pool is not surprised that the facility needs millions of dollars in repairs. But program co-ordinator Lexi van Dyck says her group is not ready to throw in the towel.

"We knew it was going to be a large sum of money to keep it open," said van Dyck.

"It's an important part of the community," she said. "There isn't a cost too high to keep the pool open."

"Councillors need to recognize the benefits of the pool," she said. "The community really wants the pool reopened long term.

"Regardless of the cost, it'll be worth it," she said.

Zach Fleisher, a resident in the West End, signed an online petition to keep the facility open.

"It's important for the city to preserve community spaces," said Fleisher. "Folks benefit from the pool, and people should take a stand for others and not just themselves."

-- With files from Elizabeth Fraser

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 8, 2013 0

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