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Refurbishment now an option for the Norwood Pool

posted 20 Jan 2017, 19:53 by Christel Mex
My notice of motion to include an option for a refurbished Norwood pool during the review consultation process was passed unanimously at the 16 January council meeting. This means that the community will be presented with three options for the pool including maintaining the current 50 metre pool, refurbishing the current pool or replacing it with a new 25-metre pool.

Here is what I said:
In this motion, I am effectively proposing to add one more option for consultation on the Norwood Pool, in addition to the 25-metre option and the maintenance option. I am asking Council to enhance one of the options for the Norwood Pool that is going out for consultation, from simply maintaining the pool, to refurbishing it. In essence, this means adding a refurbishment option that will guarantee the usefulness of the existing 50-metre pool for another 25 to 30 years, by including a new filtration plant and installing a Myrtha lining.

The term ‘maintenance’ means different things to different people, and since the initial resolution was passed in March, staff have sought clarification regarding the definition of ‘maintenance’.  At the December meeting and again tonight we are presented with a definition of maintenance which will only maintains existing equipment and pool infrastructure, which has no guarantee of extending the useful life of the pool.

I remind members that in December, we were presented with the FYFE report that gave us an updated condition assessment. The report recommends additional work, on top of maintenance, that would bring the pool up to contemporary standards including the replacement of the pipe system (which circulates the water) and installing a ramp for disabled access. According to the FYFE report, and page 28 of tonight’s SGL report, the maintenance option, and I quote, “has no guarantee of extending the useful life of the swimming pool”. 

The FYFE report also recommended investing in a new filtration plant (which cleans the water) and a Myrtha liner to enable perfect waterproofing, giving it the strength and sturdiness to extend the usefulness of the pool for another 25 – 30 years. The FYFE report said that to avoid any operational closures due to the failure of the pumping equipment, it requires replacement.  This is not available to us under the maintenance option.  The SGL report interprets maintenance as “replacing plant and equipment as they wear out or break down”. (pg 28 of the SGL report).

Another benefit of the refurbishment option is to remediate the pool shell by installing a Myrtha liner, which was brought to Council’s attention for the first time at the December meeting in the FYFE report.  The report, on page 14, concluded that since the concrete of the existing pool shell is structurally sound, a Myrtha liner could be constructed inside the existing pool shell. According to the FYFE report, Myrtha pools provide a 25-year warranty on the system and they have pools that have been in service for more than 30 years. 

Other important benefits of the Myrtha liner are the elimination of the current sources of leaks, no tiles or grout to replace, and that it can be modified for disabled access. This would also save Council a significant amount of ongoing maintenance costs due the elimination of the need to replace tiles and grout, and of course the water savings. (page 14 -15 FYFE)

I recommend this motion to council as I believe that long-term benefits with a definite outcome would out-weigh any short-term maintenance expenditure with an uncertain outcome. Since the original motion was passed in March 2016, much more detailed information has been provided to council on the condition of the Norwood Pool and other solutions that could be put to public consultation. The FYFE report quoted $1.9 total this option which I understand is all-inclusive of the combined maintenance and refurbishment costs. I believe that we need to spend our rate-payers money purposefully, instead of wasting it on short-term solutions with uncertain outcomes.

This motion will give the community and Council an addition long-term option to consider, with a much more certain outcome.

Summing up

I’m sure the users of the Norwood pool don’t want to see it crumble away and they would benefit from having more options with all the facts presented to them during the consultation process. Investing in the new plant room and Myrtha Liner would be excellent value for money, whereas if you go for the short term fix it will be cheaper at the start, but would be more expensive for rate-payers in the long term.

An analogy would be like renovating a house. You certainly can paint over old rust and cracks, patch it up, but you cover up the real problems of the house, but you end up with a quick-fix that doesn’t work, and you have to spend more in the long-term to get the proper result. Short term solutions are doomed to failure

With a long-term fix for decades to come, our school children, families and residents with a disability will continue to be able to go to the pool for lessons, recreation and fitness. In my discussions from staff, this motion will not delay the consultation by very much and it can still take place during the swimming season. With a minor amendment, the motion also aligns with the staff recommendations in agenda Item 11.1, if Council agrees to conduct further consultation with the community.

I commend this motion to Council and remind you that these are options for community consultation only, and does not bind Council to any final decision.

The full minutes of the council meeting can be found here: