Pool drainage timing to be re-examined

The timing of future Cowichan Aquatic Centre maintenance will be discussed according to North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure.

The timing of future Cowichan Aquatic Centre maintenance will be discussed according to North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure.

A Chek TV story running earlier this week prompted some Cowichan residents to wonder if draining the Aquatic Centre’s pools in the middle of a drought was the right thing to do.

“I’m glad people are concerned about every bit of water we use,” Lefebure said. “It’s always made sense to do it when you have the least demand in the summer, but I do anticipate that we’ll have discussions with staff about this because obviously we’re anticipating more dry summers and more issues with water conservation.”

Lefebure said he didn’t want to diminish the fact that to be able to work on the pool they have to release a million litres or more of water, but he did note much of it would make its way back into the river after going through the treatment plant.

“We are managing the water system such that we have adequate water if we are careful with it,” Lefebure said. “But it’s more about the fact that people have the perception that it’s a very bad time to do it, so with staff we’ll have a discussion of the timing of this in the future.”

Not every pool in the complex is drained annually, but when they are it’s for health and safety reasons, according to North Cowichan deputy director of Parks and Recreation Don Stewart.

With more than a half a million visitors each year, the pools are pretty grimy by shutdown time.

Every year, staff clean the swirl pool and wave pool basins to remove scum lines and calcium build-up. The competitive pool is evaluated annually to determine whether or not it requires that step.

“The competitive pool is different in use from the other two pools as it has less persons standing in it and more persons just swimming in it, as a result the basis receives less wear and tear on the grout and tiles,” Stewart explained. “In 2014 we did not drain this pool as a result of what we found.”

That means this year that pool is due.

When the water’s out grout, tiles, expansion joints and flooring are examined and repaired, lightbulbs are changed and pumps, filters and UV systems are serviced. This year energy-saving LED lights will be installed in certain parts of the facility.

Aside from that and some other maintenance, the entire outfit gets a deep clean.

“It is a fairly complicated picture,” Lefebure said of the area’s water situation.

“The aquifer is recharging fully every year so for the time being we know if we’re careful with our water we do have adequate water for our domestic needs. However, we want to have a culture of conservation because we are not absolutely sure what will happen in the future.”

The Cowichan Aquatic Centre is closed for maintenance Aug. 15 to Sept. 13