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Future uncertain for Port Coquitlam Marlins

Designs for a facility that could replace Centennial Pool were put forward by the PoCo Marlins swim club in 2011. The design above would cost $8.5 million to build while a more scaled-down version would cost $5.5 million. - VIC DAVIES ARCHITECTS
Designs for a facility that could replace Centennial Pool were put forward by the PoCo Marlins swim club in 2011. The design above would cost $8.5 million to build while a more scaled-down version would cost $5.5 million.
— image credit: VIC DAVIES ARCHITECTS

If the city of Port Coquitlam acts on a consultant’s recommendation to close Centennial Pool, it would likely be the end of the PoCo Marlins, according to swim club director Rick Sieb.

He told The Tri-City News that pool time for the Marlins is already limited and shutting the 50-year-old facility would make it impossible for the club to continue training its swimmers.

“It is not just the swim club,” he said. “They would basically be killing aquatics in our city.”

Closing Centennial would increase pressure on Hyde Creek rec centre, an indoor pool that Sieb said is already busy and will be under increasing pressure as the northeast area of Coquitlam continues to develop.

In the fall of 2011, the Marlins commissioned Vic Davies Architects to come up with a design for what a new Centennial Pool could look like. One version, which included a waterslide, lap pool, dive area and leisure pool, would cost $8.5 million while a scaled-down version would cost $5.5 million.

At the time, Barry Becker, the city’s manager of parks and recreation, said there was no funding available in the five-year capital plan to replace the pool.

On Tuesday, the city released the results of a study conducted by Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants stating that it would cost $2.3 million to replace Centennial and that $350,000 was required in the next three years for improvements.

The report called for the facility to be closed — and for a new home to be found for the Marlins.

But Mayor Greg Moore was quick to point out this week that council has not endorsed the consultant’s recommendations. A public consultation process is underway and the city is looking for feedback from residents to find out what they want in the way of future swimming facilities.

While Moore said Centennial Pool is at the end of its lifespan, he left open the possibility of building a new pool in a different location. And unlike Centennial’s outdoor facility, he envisions something that could be open year-round.

“Instead of looking at this as the end of something, it could be an opportunity,” he said. “If [Centennial] was to close, what could be used to replace it that would be better for the community?”

Moore also noted the current pool does not meet the Marlins’ needs and is too small to host large competitions.

The city’s consultants also recommended closing the Routley wading pool and expanding the Sun Valley spray park, and stated that upgrades to Robert Hope Pool could extend its life by 10 years.

PoCo council has not taken any action on the report and won’t until the public hearing process has been concluded. Comments from an online survey (www.portcoquitlam.ca/poolstudy) and an open house held at 8 p.m. at the Gathering Place (2253 Leigh Square Pl.) on March 5 will be incorporated into a final report and presented to council in April.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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