Saint John's Canada Games Aquatic Centre to get modern update

A $335,000 upgrade is planned for the Canada Games Aquatic Centre in the heart of uptown Saint John.

Coun. Gary Sullivan, sitting in for Mayor Donna Reardon at council, said the goal is to bring the centre, built in 1985, up to modern standards.

"As sports move on, their technology moves ahead," he said.

The money is for improvements "to the only facility we have in New Brunswick that's a 50-metre pool, to make sure that we continue to support high-end athletics and swimming," he said.

The province will contribute $134,000 from the Regional Development Corporation, through its community development fund, according to a staff report submitted to council.

The city will contribute $112,000 to the project, and the Greater Saint John Regional Facilities Commission will make up the rest.

The upgrades will include replacing swim blocks — platforms which swimmers launch from in races —  pool-area filters, deck and railing replacements and refurbishing the platform stairs.

"When we talk about the Canada Games and Saint John and Moncton sharing the Canada Games, we want to be a modernized facility," Sullivan said.

Councilor Gary Sullivan, who was acting mayor in place of Mayor Donna Reardon during the common council meeting, said that the goal is to bring the facility up to modern athletic standards.
Coun. Gary Sullivan says the goal is to bring the aquatic centre up to modern athletic standards. (Nipun Tiwari/CBC)

The Games are coming to the province in 2029, and Saint John and Moncton have bid to jointly host the event.

Sullivan said it's important to invest in the region's "top-end facilities so they stay top-end facilities."

"Swimming is a big part of New Brunswick. It's a huge part of Saint John because we have this facility and we want our athletes to be experiencing the top-level facilities," he said.

"And so when they're practicing and training in this, when they go on to their meets outside of the province, they are used to it."

Sullivan also said from a sports tourism perspective, the city wants the centre to be a place for swimmers that come from out of province, as well.