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Seepage delays Silver Springs pool re-opening an entire year

Silver Spring’s newly reconditioned swimming pool has been taking in the wrong kind of water, delaying its opening by a year.

Groundwater seeping into the community’s 33-metre-long pool means more time is needed to ensure the leaks are sealed, said Jack Birkett, the city’s aquatics operations coordinator.

“We all wanted the thing to open but we can’t paint the basin until the seepage stops,” he said.

The pool, which dates back to the mid-1970s, was scheduled to open last month but trickier-than-expected groundwater problems emerged, said Birkett.

It’s frustrating news for local residents who were looking forward to cooling off in the pool during the current bout of hot weather, said Cydney Elofson, vice-president of the Silver Springs Community Association.

“Up until last week, we were still of the view it’d be re-opening sometime in the summer,” said Elofson, noting the pool’s last use before renovations was the Labour Day long weekend of 2015.

Swimming lessons and party event have been cancelled or moved as a result, she said.

But she said most people in the community, though disappointed, are still grateful for the prospect of having the facility for use in 2018.

“We’re excited about getting this pool … getting another facility for 30 or 40 years is likely worth waiting another year,” said Elofson.

In recent years, the pool has attracted an average of 13,000 users.

The community successfully opposed an initial proposal to replace the old facility with a wading pool, a design that wouldn’t have been appropriate for older youths, she said.

Birkett said the cost of sealing the cracks with a special product aren’t significant, adding the leaks, for now, have stopped.

“But we could get 10 more of them in the next day, so we have to be sure,” he said.

Lifeguards employed at the pool have been reassigned to other locations, said the city.

Meanwhile, the opening of another public pool in the northwest has been delayed — a new wading pool in the east end of Bowness Park that’s part of the last phase of the attraction’s post-2013 flood renovations.

Leaky feeder pipes beneath the pool were detected recently, said Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland.

“They’re actually having to cut the cement to get at the pipes,” he said.

It’s expected the wading pool will be open around Aug. 1, added Sutherland.


on Twitter: @BillKaufmannjrn