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City planning Centennial Pool change house upgrades

Two designs being considered to improve facility accessibility for all users
The Centennial Pool change house will be upgraded to improve its accessibility using one of two designs being considered. Photo by Sean Feagan / Campbell River Mirror

The City of Campbell River is weighing competing designs for upgrading the Centennial Pool change house to improve its accessibility and safety.

City council supported rehabilitating Centennial Pool in 2018. This has progressed, as the facility’s boiler, mechanical and distribution systems and gutters have now been replaced. The last major item remaining is an update of the building’s change house, two plans for which were discussed during the city’s committee of the whole meeting on June 29.

The first design maintains much of the current layout of the facility but includes modifications to improve the facility’s accessibility. Examples of these modifications include adding a larger bench and an accessible changing stall to the women’s changeroom. However, these changes would not be sufficient to bring the to bring the facility to a fully accessible standard, according to the city’s report.

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This design, projected to cost $447,000, would also add a public deck shower for rinsing prior to swimming as well as a universal washroom, among other upgrades.

The other option is a more expansive renovation, resulting in a fully code compliant and accessible facility with a new layout. This plan lacks any group or gendered changing or shower areas and instead compartmentalizes these features into separate cubicles, resulting in a “changing village,” explained Ian McDonald, of Carscadden Stokes McDonald Architects Inc., project consultant. This area would open to the pool deck, resulting in better oversight by staff and parents.

This option, projected to cost $1,054,000, also features upgrades to the facility’s staff, first aid and rental rooms and entryway. It would also add ‘barrier-free’ universal washrooms to be accessed from both the pool deck and main entry.

Mayor Andy Adams said the benefits of adding universal washrooms are apparent not only for families and mixed genders, but also people with special needs, based on his experience as chair of the Strathcona Gardens Commission and from touring multiple facilities across B.C.

“It just makes a lot of sense,” said Adams.

The project is already funded for $350,000 under the city’s 2021-2030 capital plan. But with design adjustments targeting energy efficiency, the pool house could be a candidate as a ‘shovel-ready’ project for government grants. There is now a call for applications to an Infrastructure Canada grant through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) Program, which could secure up to 80 per cent funding for the project, explained Jason Decksheimer, the city’s fleet and facilities manager.

The city will undertake a public consultation initiative this summer while the pool is open that will include major facility users, such as the CR Salmon King Swim Club and School District 72. The feedback gathered from this process will be returned to council prior to its 2022 capital planning discussions.

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