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You can jump in Coquitlam's updated Spani Pool — in 2023

Plans to update Coquitlam’s oldest outdoor tank are shaping up, with construction on Spani Pool set to start after next summer’s swimming season.

Plans to update Coquitlam’s oldest outdoor tank are shaping up, with construction on Spani Pool set to start after next summer’s swimming season.

On Monday (June 21), the city’s council-in-committee heard about the proposal to modernize the 50-year-old pool in Mundy Park that, when finished in 2023, will have a:

  • renovated 25-metre lap pool with a 1.2-metre deep end
  • new leisure tank (on the north side) with a shallow beach entry, a splash area and lazy river
  • new hot pool between the two tanks

As well, new buildings will go up north of the leisure pool for universally accessible change rooms; a multi-purpose room and washrooms that will be open year-round for Mundy Park users; a staff room and First Aid station; storage; a mechanical room; a covered area; spectator seating; and a “Shark Shack” for the Coquitlam Sharks Swim Club, which has been at Spani Pool since it opened.

The mature forested setting, to the east of the pool, will stay; however, a small number of trees in poor health and have a safety risk will be cut down.

Ted Uhrich, Coquitlam’s project manager for strategic and capital projects, told Tri-City News that the amount of trees to be removed will be decided later during the detailed design stage.

He also told council the city vision aligns with the feedback received last year from stakeholders and the public — the latter via a survey that generated more than 600 responses last summer.

Most of the respondents said the forested environment is the biggest draw to Spani Pool, which currently has an $18-million price tag to renovate and expand.

And the survey participants called for better change rooms, a shallow beach entry, a covered/shaded area and more play features as well as seating.

But parking wasn’t a big concern for respondents (although the online poll was taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, when swimming was limited).

Still, several councillors said parking can be challenging when Mundy Park is full with families and sports groups, and they asked city staff to make better use of the overflow lot on the east side of Spani Pool.

Coun. Chris Wilson, who lives in the neighbourhood, said there’s been a traffic uptick since the Mundy Park playground was rebuilt. And he asked for digital boards to go up at park entrances — like at Town Centre Park — to indicate how many parking stalls are open.

Coun. Teri Towner also said she cycled through the area recently and found a packed park, with few vehicles in the overflow lot. She asked for bike racks to be added with the new Spani Pool design.

As for the hefty bill, a consultant has recommended that the city budget $18 million, if it plans to expand Spani Pool in phases; otherwise, the municipality could shave 10% off its estimate if the pool is rebuilt in one phase. 

Last November, city staff applied for $4.4 million in federal funds to offset the infrastructure costs.

According to a report, the operating expenses for the renewed pool will be around $325,000 a year — for five months of use — while the asset replacement costs will be $350,000 a year.

“That’s a big number,” said Coun. Dennis Marsden, who noted both expenses will come out of taxpayers’ pockets.

Meanwhile, besides the tanks and new buildings, the city is also planning several energy-efficient measures at Spani Pool. Among them:

  • solar thermal pre-heat for showers, sinks and other hot water (not the pool water)
  • sanitary heat recovery 
  • air-source heat pump to cool the staff area, First Aid room, multi-purpose room and washrooms 

As well, city staff are working with FortisBC to look at high-efficiency gas boilers to heat the pool water.

Coun. Bonita Zarrillo said she’d like to see salt-water chlorination at Spani Pool; however, Scott Groves, director of strategic and capital projects, told the committee that the pool would need a different system and would be too much money. 

“The chlorine level still has to be the same,” he said.

Another round of public consultations is set for this fall. 

If the detailed design is OK’d by council, the Spani Pool renewal is set to be finished by 2023.