Splish, splash: Bonnie Doon pool to reopen in new year after 3-year renovation

After being closed three years for renovations, Bonnie Doon Leisure Centre is set to open again by the end of January.

"I think when people go in they'll really be happy with what they see," said Jack Ashton, acting director for facility infrastructure delivery at the City of Edmonton.

Ashton said the city is commissioning some water testing equipment and addressing imperfections before the doors open.

"Once the contractor moves out, we'll be mobilizing the operators and maintenance to come in and start to get the pool ready for the public," he said.

The city doesn't have a set opening date yet, but says that will be announced on its website by the end of December.

New exterior, better accessibility

The new leisure centre will have a new saltwater chlorination system that will be "a lot gentler both on your nose and skin," Ashton said.

Other renovations include accessibility improvements, added guardrails, new tiles for the locker rooms and pool basin and an LED lighting system.

Manuel Carrillos/CBC
Manuel Carrillos/CBC

Ashton said the building has had an energy audit. The new exterior, built with a sloping design, will be more energy efficient.

"We're trying to be mindful of our climate change initiatives and greenhouse gas emissions, so [we're] using less energy."

Hazardous materials found

The pool, at 8648 81st St., closed in September 2016 for rehabilitation work.

It was originally set to open again in January 2018, but that was delayed after hazardous materials were discovered in the building.

"We also were able to identify some opportunities to do some improvements that we hadn't actually programmed for earlier in the project, so it became a little bit of a larger project," Ashton said.

The city next planned to open the pool by December 2019, but that timeline changed after the discovery of issues with the existing sanitary lines — pipes that carry water from the sinks and showers to the sanitary system underground.

City of Edmonton
City of Edmonton

"We're having to replace some sections of building slab and get new lines in, so at the end of the day, we can operate a safe facility for all of our patrons and citizens," Ashton said.

Duane Gingras, president of the Bonnie Doon community league, said residents have been waiting for a long time for the facility to open.

"It would be nice to see the pool in the community for sure. I mean, we've been here for several years now and we haven't actually seen the pool yet," Gingras said.

"There's a level of frustration that sits on a long-standing project."

The city says the project is on budget after council adjusted its budget. The project will cost $13.9 million, up from the original $12.4 million allocated.

Other projects in progress

Ashton said area residents waiting for the Bonnie Doon pool to open can use other pools, such as the Hardisty fitness centre, with their passes.

"It's part of the accommodation the city provides when we shut down other facilities," he said.

Other projects in works

Jasper Place Leisure Centre has been closed since fall 2016 for revitalization. Due to some unforeseen asbestos, the project fell behind. It is expected to open in February.

According to a report presented to city council on Oct. 8, the Jasper Place project is 20 per cent behind schedule.

Meanwhile, city councillors this week voted to shelve the long-awaited Lewis Farms recreation centre project.