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Total cost to build Thompson’s new pool should be known by June

City put out request for tenders April 20 and hopes to begin reviewing proposals within six weeks of the posting date.
An artist’s rendition of the interior of a proposed new pool in Thompson to replace the Norplex Pool, which was permanently shut down in February 2019. 

The City of Thompson should know how much it might cost to build a new pool based on its design specifications within about a month. 

An April 20 Facebook post said the request for tenders to build a new aquatic facility had been posted and that the city and architectural consultants hoped to begin reviewing submissions within six weeks before selecting a company to oversee the new pool’s construction.

Following that review, the total cost of the project would be known and the recommended proponent be presented to council at a committee of the whole meeting for discussion. A majority vote at a council meeting would be required to award the tender to the recommended company.

“We are very excited to continue to move this project forward, and we will continue to share information on the project with the community as things evolve,” the Facebook post read.

Thompson has been without an indoor public pool since the previous council made the decision to permanently shut down the Norplex Pool for safety reasons on Feb. 13, 2019, a little over three months after they took office and Colleen Smook first became the mayor in October 2018. By the following fall, council had submitted an infrastructure funding application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, with a total project cost of about $15 million, though it quickly amended that to a higher figure of about $20 million.

It took nearly three years before the city got word last spring that its funding application had been approved, though only for a total of $15 million, with $6 million coming from the federal government, $5 million from the provincial government and the city expected to cover the other $4 million.

Vale Manitoba Operations has also pledged to contribute $2 million toward the construction of a new pool in Thompson.

With more than four years having elapsed since the pool was shut down, however, and nearly four since the ICIP grant application was made, it is likely that the cost to construct of a pool based on the city’s desired specifications has risen dramatically, through a combination of worker shortages and inflation that have driven up the cost of both labour and materials. 

The City of Fin Flon, which shut down its pool for safety reasons about a year after Thompson closed the Norplex, recently revealed that the cost to build a replacement based on its desired design, estimated to be $9 million when an application to ICIP was submitted a few years ago, had risen to $11 million by last June. Since then, it has gone up to about $17 million, almost 100 per cent higher than the first estimate.

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