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Transcona Centennial Pool to receive upgrades

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It won’t look exactly like what was originally planned, but the Transcona Centennial Pool site is receiving some major upgrades.

The outdoor pool is slated to be replaced and will include a beach entry to ensure it is accessible. As well, waterslides, new spray features, and an improved mechanical system will all be added. A lazy river was initially proposed for the site, but after discovering a separate mechanical system would be required, the City of Winnipeg felt the money — approximately $600,000 — would be better spent adding clerestory windows to the Transcona Centennial Pool building in order to let in more natural light. There will also be renovations to washrooms and change rooms, while family change rooms will be added.

"Then we started asking hard questions — why would we spend $600,000 there? Wouldn’t we be better off spending it on the indoor pool?" Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) said. "Talking to the staff, they really stressed the need to update and modernize the locker rooms, even though it’s something that’s not as sexy as a lazy river."

All told, the project will cost approximately $5.7 million, with $5 million coming from the City of Winnipeg 2013 Capital Budget and the remainder from the 2014 Preliminary Budget that will be considered by city council on Dec. 17.

Wyatt, who is also the chair of the finance committee, said with the pool being almost 50 years old, it was time for an upgrade.

"It needs, to give it another 30 to 50 years, a reinvestment. That’s why it’s so important — we have an existing facility, we have a real demand for swimming facilities in our city," Wyatt said. "We are working to reinvest in aquatics and in pools in our city, as well as other recreational facilities."

Wyatt expects to see the outdoor construction begin in the spring or summer, hopefully keeping the existing splash pad in operation during the construction. Use of the indoor pool may be disrupted during construction, but Wyatt hopes to keep it to a minimum.

Aquatic Services Division manager Paul Huntington pointed to an increase in attendance at the Kildonan Park pool after it saw major improvements in 2010 as to the effects of a revamped site.

"We anticipate the newer, revitalized facility with the beach entry will be accessible for (those of) all abilities," Huntington said. "It will enhance the opportunities for everybody."

As the project was being developed, the future of Transcona Stadium was up in the air, but Wyatt confirmed it will remain as residents had expressed concern about the availability of hardball diamonds and other greenspace in the neighbourhood.

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