Spani Pool users may be looking for new lanes this summer as Coquitlam embarks on a $12-million overhaul of the 52-year-old Mundy Park facility.
The new swimming hole is set to open in the spring of 2024 after Coquitlam council voted unanimously in favour of the final design on Monday night.
“To be able to rejuvenate a pool of this age is remarkable,” said Mayor Richard Stewart.
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The design includes a leisure pool with a shallow entry, a lazy river, and a warming pool intended to provide “therapeutic opportunities” for residents. The renovated lap pool will stay the same size with eight swim lanes and a dive tank.
According to projections provided by Coquitlam city staff, approximately 16,000 swimmers will hop into the pool per season – double the number of users at the current pool. The city is also predicting a 50 percent increase in people taking swimming lessons and certification courses.
To ensure Coquitlam swimmers aren’t left high and dry during the summer of 2023, the city is considering moving up the opening of the Eagle Ridge Outdoor Pool as well as possibly rescheduling annual June maintenance at Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex.
While Coun. Craig Hodge was enthusiastic about the new Spani, he voiced a note of concern about having the pool ready by the spring of 2024.
If construction falls behind schedule, Hodge said he would favour keeping the old pool for one more summer to ensure swimmers don’t lose two swimming seasons.
“There’s no point in opening it in October of 2024,” Hodge said.
The city should be able to move from procurement to construction swiftly, according to city staff.
Currently, Spani Pool’s natural gas boilers produce the equivalent of 120 tonnes of carbon dioxide, making Spani Pool the Coquitlam’s third largest source of emissions among civic facilities. (With their year-round schedules, both the Poirier Sports centre and the City Centre Aquatic Complex produce more greenhouse gas emissions.)
However, the renovation is expected to result in a substantially more environmentally friendly pool.
By switching to a hybrid heat pump/natural gas boiler system as well as employing other measures including overnight pool covers, GHGs are projected to fall by approximately 80 percent. The switch is also slated to save the city about $34,000 per year, according to the staff report.
Coun. Dennis Marsden was enthusiastic about the reduction.
“The neighbours will continue to have challenges with kids and noise and people coming in late at night, but it’s a good looking facility,” Marsden said.
Cost and culture
The federal and provincial governments are set to chip in a combined $4.42 million to help the city of with the $12-million Spani pool renewal project. That funding from seniors levels of government is contingent on Coquitlam “demonstrating engagement” with the Kwikwetlem First Nation through planning and design.
While the design is not yet finished, the new pool is slated to include a “cultural recognition feature . . . that helps tell the story of the Kwikwetlem First Nation,” according to the report.
Running the new pool is slated to cost the city $900,000 per year, the equivalent of an approximately 0.54 percent tax increase.
The new facility is also set to include a multi-purpose room that could allow for swim camps and lifeguard training, as well as fitness classes and possible rentals for birthday parties.