Council awards design contract for new pool to replace shuttered Norplex

City council chose Stantec Architecture to design Thompson’s new pool in a 6-2 vote Sept. 8.

The total cost of the design and engineering of the proposed new pool will be just over $1 million and the project is expected to take 32 weeks to complete.

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The city received 13 responses to its request for proposals (RFP) for a prime consultant to design a new aquatic facility and a committee of six people, including four city staff and two pool committee members, whittled that down to three finalists. Stantec had the best technical score of the three finalists, the lowest cost and the shortest time line for completion. 

“Based on the technical aspect and the budget amount the recommendation was to award it to Stantec,” said pool manager and RFP review committee lead Sonya Wiseman.

The design should be finished sometime in the spring of 2021,a little more than two years after the city shut the Norplex Pool down permanently due to safety issues.

Councillors had differing views of the wisdom and significance of awarding the pool design contract.

On one side were those like Coun. Kathy Valentino, who viewed it as a necessary step  on the way to building a replacement for the Norplex Pool.

“We’re still waiting on the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program  (ICIP) dollars like everybody else is across the country so we can continue to keep our fingers crossed that this is just the next step and it’s a real positive step,” she said.

Council passed a resolution 11 months ago seeking an ICIP grant, which would cover 76 per cent of an estimated total cost of $20 million for a new pool, with the city chipping in just over $5 million.

Councillors Duncan Wong and Jeff Fountain were opposed to awarding the design contract because there are still open questions surrounding the new aquatic facility and the fate fo the vacant Norplex Pool.

“We don’t have the funding in place,” said Wong. “We don’t know even where we’re going to build this.”

As part of the pool design, Stantec will review possible locations for the pool and recommend the best ones based on Thompson’s needs and want, said city manager Anthony Mcinnis.

“I have always, from the very beginning, questioned as to why we  got into this situation, which we really don’t have an answer to, and I’ve questioned repeatedly what we’re doing with the old pool, which we don’t have an answer for,” said Fountain. “I do know for a fact that liability’s going to cost us millions of dollars whether we retrofit it into something else or tear it down. There are a number of people that have problems with us moving forward with a very expensive project with roads in the condition that they’re in. I think in the best interest of those people, who are maybe a silent majority or a silent minority, I will not be supporting this.”

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