Partial shutdown at aquatic centre, pump breaks down

The Battlefords Co-op Aquatic Centre has been partially and indefinitely shut down due to a mechanical failure.

In a tweet from the City of North Battleford on Thursday, it was announced there had been a failure of the main pump at the Aquatic Centre. The wave pool, lazy river and slides are shut down and closed until further notice.

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Director of Leisure Services Cheryl DeNeire described it as an “ongoing and revolving situation as we speak,” when city administration spoke to Planning Committee about the situation Monday.

“Here we are again,” was the reaction of CUplex general manager Jodi Hargreaves about this latest failure.

An impeller had failed in the main pump in 2016, causing the exact same problem. The pump typically has a three to five year lifespan.

As was the case three years ago, Hargreaves said half the facility is affected: the wave pool, lazy river and slides.

Not affected are the lane pool, the hot tub and steam bath. The last time the pump failed, the partial shutdown lasted six weeks and members were compensated for that length of time.

Seton Winterholt from the city’s leisure services department provided details about ordering in the new pump.

He explained the pump at the aquatic centre is American made, and that parts “aren’t kept on a shelf in a warehouse” – they have to be manufactured.

Based on his telephone calls that day, raw materials have to be shipped from Mexico to the United States, where they are then manufactured and shipped to Canada.

The city’s current course of action is to find a Canadian supplier, perhaps a different manufacturer altogether, which can pump water that’s chlorinated and also water that is heated. Winterholt expressed confidence they will find a supplier to do that.

The current disabled pump was delivered to Precision Machine out of Saskatoon to do the rebuild on the motor. They are also working on sourcing out the impeller, while the city is “casting out our own net as well.”

A revised schedule is now in place for the aquatic centre. According to the schedule put up online by the city, public and lane swims are continuing but will be limited during repair times. Lane swims are limited to 6:30-10 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 12-1 p.m. Monday to Thursday while public swims are limited to between 6-9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 7-9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, and 2:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The plan is to discount admissions to Field House prices. Swim lessons will continue as scheduled but there will be no seniors classes at 3:30 p.m. Velocity Fitness classes will now take place in the lane pool at 6:30 p.m. and 12:10 p.m., but there will be no evening classes.

Hargraves told council there will be a cutting back of some casual staff, due to less need for lifeguards and so on.

As for the compensation to users, a couple of options were outlined to Planning Committee.

One was of giving membership users a financial credit. However, it was noted “not everyone’s needs are the same,” said Mayor Ryan Bater. A multitude of users are impacted, with Hargreaves noting the aquatic centre has over 10,000 members.

Councillor Kelli Hawtin suggested memberships be put on hold for a period of time. Administration suggested perhaps offering a dual-form of compensation; one could include a stop-use for a period of time while offering a credit for others continuing to use the facility.

That option seemed to have the backing of most of council. The indication is this revised option will come back to council for discussion and final approval next Monday.

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