Cache Creek faces high price to repair and operate pool – Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal
A report on the state of the Cache Creek pool – which has been closed for two seasons – paints a picture of a facility that operates with a $100,000 annual deficit, faces numerous maintenance challenges and maintenance, and would cost between $80,000 and $145,000 to repair to a condition where it could safely reopen.
The 86-page report was prepared by general manager Damian Couture and presented to the board at its March 21 meeting. In addition to Couture’s assessment, the report contains emails, reports and memos dating back to 2002 detailing a variety of concerns and challenges. , including problems with the pool’s chlorination system.
Couture’s report says the pool — built in 1973 — traditionally operated with a chlorine gas disinfection system. Although once popular in swimming pools, chlorine gas has fallen out of favor due to the dangers associated with it and requires significant training to operate the system safely.
A 2016 report detailed numerous challenges and safety issues associated with the use of chlorine in the pool, including the fact that the facility’s chlorine alarm monitor, purchased in 2012, had never been recalibrated, despite having to do so every year. The 2016 report also noted a leak in the chlorine line that appeared to have been there for “a long time. [Redacted] told me that the red light on the outside door to the chlorine room had been on and off randomly for two to three years.
On August 31, 2016, the alarm reader detected chlorine levels that exceeded the evacuation level, causing the evacuation of the swimming pool and the nearby park.
The village switched to the much safer calcium hypochlorite in 2018 and 2019, but this system did not meet Interior Health requirements. Calcium hypochlorite also increases the risk of problems caused by scale buildup, which is already a problem in Cache Creek due to the extreme hardness of the water there. An alternative, sodium hypochlorite, has “the potential to interact badly with metal piping, an element that should not be in the system but has been observed by operators and known to exist in at least minus some of the concrete components.
“Much of the plumbing is located below the pool itself,” the report continues. “With original pipe systems on site and water chemistry likely to leave calcium deposits inside the pipes, it is reasonable to assume that a problem could arise and incur a repair cost. important. Depending on the location, a leak repair can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and the community is already in financial trouble without this potential problem.
Couture noted that the village was historically “heavily dependent” on revenue from the Cache Creek Landfill, which closed in December 2016.
Between 2010 and 2019, the pool operated with an average annual deficit of $100,000 per year. While there is “no expectation” that the facility will be revenue neutral, the report notes that comparable sites see an end operating cost of $30,000 to $80,000 per year. Raising user fees significantly is not an option; the report points out that “if this installation were paid only for use, the price would be astronomical. No one would use it.
In addition to losing landfill revenue, Cache Creek has experienced costly natural disasters in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021, each of which placed a “significant burden” on village resources and finances. Between 2015 and 2020, between 23% and 33% of every tax dollar collected at Cache Creek has been allocated to the operation of the pool.
The pool is only slightly above the water table at the lowest point of the year. As recently as the 2020 flood, the water level rose to a point where most of the park was covered in water. This means that the pool must be kept full, with water circulating, all year round, to avoid problems caused by hydrostatic pressure. “If left unfilled, these forces have the potential to push the walls of the pool or fill it with groundwater depending on the weather.”
Other issues identified in the report include a solar heating system that was installed in 2011 but is currently not in use due to a “critical failure that occurred many years ago that has not been repaired. » ; boilers that need to be constantly monitored, as they are “likely to be the first point of failure”; a backwashing permit for the filtration system in the Bonaparte River which is no longer valid and will probably not be renewed, namely the construction of a reservoir and a backwashing system; the need for a new emergency primary pump; and many miscellaneous minor repairs.
“A pool is not a source of revenue,” the report states, “it is a service to the people who pay for it through taxes. There are so many good things about a swimming pool.
Alternatives to repairing the current pool and continuing to operate it at a $100,000 per year deficit include a new outdoor in-ground pool (estimated cost $750,000 to $1,250,000); a new interior installation (up to $2,500,000); and a new water park in place of a swimming pool ($100,000 to $750,000, with an annual operating cost of about $20,000).
Investment in transportation is also suggested, to allow Cache Creek residents who do not drive to use Ashcroft’s swimming pool, which “would contribute to the long-term sustainability of this site”. An interim cost for this service would be in the order of $10,000, depending on the plan.
The report ends with a note that most options require a significant capital investment.
“With so many other major infrastructure projects needing immediate attention, they all seem out of reach…Community members need to be aware that we are running out of reserves and have aging infrastructure that needs to be replaced. Whichever direction is chosen, be it repair, replacement or decommissioning, it will have implications for the residents of the community for years to come.
Following Couture’s presentation, the board received the report for information without any questions or discussion, and there were no questions from the public.
the Newspaper asked when the board would make a decision about what happens to the pool, and if it would be in time for it to open this year. Mayor Santo Talarico said the council has begun discussions on the draft budget, with two more meetings in the next two weeks.
“We’ll see where it takes us,” he said. “We don’t know if we’re going to get to the pool opening date in May or not.”
The full report can be read as part of the March 21 meeting agenda at https://bit.ly/37W0BQ9.