New Richmond aquatic centre remains closed

While seniors at the Minoru Centre for Active Living are enjoying their brand-new centre, the Richmond News has filed a freedom-of-information request asking about delays in the construction of the centre — half of which still remains closed to the public.

The facility in Minoru Park, which includes the seniors centre, a fitness centre and an aquatic centre, was originally supposed to open in spring 2017, but with the city citing bad weather and labour shortages, the opening date was moved ahead.

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In the summer of 2018, the city was hiring people to work at the facility in anticipation of opening later that year, but, again, there was a delay. 

Finally, in late January, the city said the facility would open on March 11 just in time for March break.

But in a press release on Feb. 20, they announced that the opening of the aquatic centre would be postponed since it was discovered the concrete base of one of the six pools had shifted.

The press release continued that “an assessment is underway to determine the scope of required repairs and develop an implementation plan and schedule.”

Meanwhile, the Richmond News has filed a freedom-of-information request asking to see correspondence and internal reports about the reasons for the delay in the construction.

The original request was made in February, and, since then, the city has twice delayed the process.

The first delay is allowed by the Act government freedom of information and the protection of privacy, and the second one was allowed after the city made an application to the privacy commissioner.

The city now has until July 4 to provide the Richmond News with the documents.

The physical investigation of the pool base failure has now been completed by the construction manager and the insurer, and analysis work is scheduled to be done in June, according to city spokesperson Ted Townsend. 

After that, a reconstruction plan and schedule will be developed, and then a timeline for public access can be provided.

“We appreciate that this is taking time and that people are eager to have full access to the facility. We also want to get the remainder of the facility open,” Townsend said in an email.

“But we need to be absolutely certain that we’ve both identified the cause of the problem and the correct way to repair the damage to ensure there’s no future recurrence.”

For safety and logistical reasons, both the aquatic and fitness centres remain closed while the pool issue is dealt with.

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