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Local pool set for $3-million facelift

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 Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) at St. Vital Outdoor Centennial Pool at a recent announcement that the facility will receive a $3-million makeover.

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Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) at St. Vital Outdoor Centennial Pool at a recent announcement that the facility will receive a $3-million makeover. Photo Store

A long-standing southeast Winnipeg attraction is set for a massive $3-million upgrade.

The St. Vital Outdoor Centennial Pool, located at 5 Des Meurons St., is in line for several major revitalization improvements including a new heated pool, accessible beach entry and multiple spray features, it has been announced.

Officials say $2.9 million of the funding for the expansion and renovations will come from the City of Winnipeg’s 2012 capital budget, while $130,000 will come from St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes’ ward budget for parks and recreation.

Mayes told The Lance he is pleased to see the scheduled improvements to the pool, which is more than 45 years old, not least because he first visited the pool with his mother and sisters in the late 1960s.

"It’s great that we will be updating such an old facility," Mayes said. "In a similar way that Kildonan Pool is a jewel in northwest Winnipeg, this will be a major pool in the south end of the city, especially as we’re going to be improving the play area, too.

"I went there with my kids last year and it was clear the pool was built in a different era. One of the main things is the pool is currently unheated, so now it will be heated and have wheelchair access. I’m hoping these changes will bring in three to four times the volume of users. It will also be open two weeks earlier in mid-June, near the end of the school year. All in all, it will be a much better facility."

In its entirety, the project will include the refurbishment and repair of the existing pool, new pool mechanical systems such as a heating system to enhance user comfort and extend the operating season, and a new pool building fitted with standard and family changing rooms, as well as washrooms and lockers, officials say.

Other features of the new facility will include an accessible beach entry area with multiple spray features, new pathways, pool decking, fencing and landscaping, redevelopment of the playground area, including a new play structure and swings, and new bike racks and a connection to the Fermor Avenue Active Transportation pathway.

In light of the current state of the pool, Mayes praised the efforts of previous ward councillors who rallied against the potential closure of the facility.

The new facility will include a drop-off lane in the parking lot. Officials say construction will start next spring and is expected to be completed next fall.  

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