Tentative plans for the District of Port Hardy's new swimming complex.

Meetings help pool plans take shape

Tentative plans for the District of Port Hardy's new swimming complex were presented during meetings last week.

Plans for a new Port Hardy pool complex were developing before residents’ eyes last week as part of a design charette process.

At a recap meeting on the evening of June 28, HDR/CEI Architect Mark Hentze presented the tentative design of the new pool to a group which included members of the public, and representatives from the District of Port Hardy and the Regional District of Mount Waddington.

The plan includes a $12-million budget with $10.5 going to construction costs. The new complex will be about 15,000 square feet, compared to the existing pool that is about 12,000.

Hentze said three sites were initially considered for the new complex: beside the municipal offices; beside the old pool (parking lot side); and towards the woods beside the fire hall.

In the end, Hentze said, the site beside the fire hall appears to be the best choice, because it is visible from the street and “it is the most cost-effective place to put this project.”

There will be two entrances to the new complex, one in the front to the central lobby (near the existing parking lot), and a second in the back, so that foot traffic that uses an existing pathway will have access to the building. “The skatepark will likely need to be relocated,” Hentze said.

The early plans for inside, at this point, include a four-lane lap pool, leisure pool with a lazy river; and family, male and female change rooms. There will be beach entry access for parents with children and for those with mobility issues.

“We’re trying to be as inclusive as possible to as many people as we can,” said Hentze.

In fact, the design includes a specially textured tile walkway that leads people who are visually impaired from the change room to the pool.

The architects are also looking at retrofitting the old pool building to eventually house multi-purpose rooms for seniors, teens, etc.

In the end, “this needs to be a building (that is a source) of pride for the community,” Hentze said, and that reflects the community “not some architects from Vancouver.”

The HDR/CEI team will take all the information they received from last week’s charette meetings and will be back for an open house in September with a more detailed proposal.