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Pool project progress report

Posted on July 15, 2021 by Maple Creek
A drainage well has been built at the swimming pool site to determine how much water is there.

Last Friday, the News-Times spoke to Councillor Al Fournier about the status of the swimming pool project. Throughout the course of the project, this paper plans to provide periodic updates. As with any venture of this nature, there are variables that could affect timelines. In this interview, Councillor Fournier speaks of preliminary matters that need to be addressed before pool construction can begin.

Anyone passing the swimming pool site last Thursday may have had their curiosity piqued by a burst of activity. They would probably have seen and heard heavy equipment operating.
A crew from Greene Farm Drilling out of Dunmore, Alberta, had been contracted to build a drainage well on the land to determine how much water is there. Finding the answer, and dealing with the possibility of a lot of water, are steps that must be carried out before pool construction can begin.
Greene Farm Drilling, which has a successful track record with the Town and RM of Maple Creek, agreed to donate its work at the site – a gesture worth about $10,000.
“It’s fantastic that they would do this,” said Councillor Al Fournier, chairperson of the Parks, Recreation & Culture Committee. “It’s a big donation and we want to recognize them for it.”
The drainage well was built on the recommendation of Edmonton-based Master Pools Alta, the contractor for the pool project, and its engineers, who had identified a water table issue.
For the rest of July, Public Works and Gavin Graves, the Town’s director of operations, will be monitoring water levels.
“Following the monitoring, we will have an idea how much water there is,” said Councillor Fournier. “Master Pools knows that there is water there, but they don’t know if there’s a trickle or a stream.
“Is there a solution to this? Yes, there is. With technology there is a solution. The presence of water does not mean that this is not a good site for a pool.”
If a lot of water is found, diverting it may be an answer.
“We have to figure out what to do with it,” said Councillor Fournier. “There are possibilities. We have green space here, we have the ball diamonds here, we have a golf course nearby. There are different ways of dealing with the water table issue. There’s no use in panicking.”
He added: “To me it’s exciting that the well has been built. We can’t start on the pool until this issue has been dealt with.”
Meanwhile, finalized site and building plans should be ready soon.
Some adjustments to them have already been made, including the creation of a corridor in the proposed structure to provide access for maintenance, service and repair crews.
“We’ve had a bit of tweaking done with the proposed building, and added a few little things on,” said Councillor Fournier. “We are close to the finalized site and building plans.”
Once the plans are completed and the water table issue has been resolved, the goal is to start with construction of the building portion of the project.
The building, which will be off the parking lot on the west side, will include changing rooms and the mechanical room.
Doing the project in two phases – the building first, then the hole for the pool – is deemed prudent given the limited construction season and the uncertainty of the weather as summer gives way to fall and winter.
“The aim is to get the building up, and then perhaps carry out some of the work through the winter at minimal cost,” said Councillor Fournier. “The problem with starting the pool and digging a hole is that it requires a lot of concrete. That concrete has to cure.
“It’s a process. If you start making cement on a big area like that in October, there is a risk of frost. It’s not worth that risk. You can heat your cement, but it would cost lots of money. Could you imagine running propane heaters in there 24.7?”
Councillor Fournier said the Town would be holding further talks with Master Pools.
One of the challenges will be to hire contractors that fit in with the project timelines. Other challenges include back orders of supplies, and a jump in costs during the COVID-19 pandemic – as demonstrated by the price of lumber.
“Master Pools and Town Council are working hard to stay on budget,” said Councillor Fournier.
He added that a primary goal was to employ local contractors, wherever possible.
In conclusion, Councillor Fournier was keen to give a shout-out to the swimming pool committee board and members for their continued support and fundraising efforts.
“They are doing a terrific job,” he said.

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