If we all stick to our best behaviour, Santa may have a pool for Inuvik by Christmas.

Inuvik Town Council received an update on its swimming facility at its Aug. 8 committee of the whole meeting.

“I wish we could pressure these guys,” said Public Works director Rick Campbell. “But these guys are in demand all across Canada and they can’t service all of their stuff right now and we don’t want to end up in a position where you’re further on down the list. The price of the work has gone up considerably plus there is no workers to be had to do this type of stuff and the lining stuff was a specialty that you need people that can do it.

“Just so you all know, I’m patiently waiting to go for a swim too.”

At a cost of $488,907, the pool liner is finally complete, Campbell told council. The next step involves bringing up specialists to pressure test the pipes, which Campbell predicted would be done by the end of August — assuming everything goes as planned from here.

But another hurdle still needs to be cleared — the town needs to get an Environmental Officer to sign off on the structure because the town raised the wall around the Lazy River for safety purposes. Campbell told council the town had been trying to get the NWT’s lone officer up from Yellowknife to inspect the building for a month.

Once all this is done, Community Services director Lise Saumur told council it would likely be another two weeks to a month before the town could actually open the pool to the public.

First and foremost, the town needed to hire staff to operate the pool. Saumur said the town had been working on getting a pool director hired and expected them to be in town within the first weeks of September. The town is also working on hiring lifeguards. However, once staff are in place they would have a period of ‘wet re-certification’ — effectively demonstrating they’re up to the job of rescuing someone who could be drowning.

Finally, because the pool has been closed for so long, a top-to-bottom inspection by the NWT Health Inspector has to be completed before the public can swim again.

“I have a girl sitting on the wings — she’s ready to come she’ll adjust her schedule if we’re ready for her to come in early September,” said Saumur. “We’re hoping that we can get staff actually wet before that because they have to build up their endurance for their time swims and the different physical things that they have to do to be a lifeguard.

“It’s not just we have water, we can swim.”

The pool closed in March 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and town officials decided the extended period would be a sensible time to fix long-standing problems with the basin, however as the town worked on the pool more problems with the system became apparent. To date the entire piping structure was re-worked to prevent leaks into the surrounding permafrost and moved beneath the pool, the deck has been modified for better safety, the walls around the lazy river have been raised, and both the drainage and mechanical systems have been overhauled.

Work on the pool was made possible through a $562,500 grant from the federal government.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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