Equipment and builders have arrived, and restoration work is about to begin at the Henderson outdoor pool.
A summertime attraction for nearly five decades, the pool was closed several summers ago after city officials reported its plumbing and basin were collapsing.
After a failed attempt at finding a contractor who could meet city council’s projected budget allocation, officials sent out a second call for submissions last fall. An Edmonton-area company, Miclex Construction Inc. was the successful bidder at a price of $9.2 million.
Its staging equipment arrived last week, and aquatics projects manager Ashley Matthews says earth-moving will begin this week.
“It’s exciting,” he says, after seeing the site sit deserted for more than a year. “Things are starting to happen.”
To facilitate construction, the north entrance to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden parking lot has been closed, although the garden and the nearby playground will remain open.
Demolition of the old pool — opened in 1964 — was completed more than a year ago. The cost of that work, Matthews says, plus the consultant’s fees will bring the overall price to about $10.25 million.
Earlier this spring, he adds, trained workers removed asbestos hazards from the pool’s mechanical room.
Pipes and electrical conduits may be among the first signs of the new facility rising, but Matthews says park visitors will also see concrete poured before long. The contractor’s goal, he says, is to have everything in place by December, leaving landscaping and finishing touches for next spring.
The city expects to take possession of a fully-complete project by mid-May next year, he says.
Typically, says Matthews, the pool would open for school groups in mid-June, with public sessions starting later in the month.
Poll could impact election plan
One disapproving poll doesn’t guarantee political disaster for the province’s Conservatives.
But Lethbridge political scientists say it could force Premier Jim Prentice to have second thoughts about calling a spring election.
“We’ll see how the premier responds to his internal (party) polling,” says Geoffrey Hale, a member of the political science faculty at the University of Lethbridge. If they’re similar to the results of a poll released by a national polling firm, he could wait for a better time.
A Mainstreet Technologies poll of more than 3,000 Albertans, taken after the Conservatives tabled their tax-hike budget, showed Prentice’s party tied with the opposition Wildrose party at 30 per cent support.
The pollsters also reported 44 per cent of those who responded said Alberta should raise its taxes on corporations — a move the government refuses to do — while 49 per disapproved of the budget overall.
Particularly in Edmonton, they added, the New Democrats are also benefitting from voters’ rejection of the long-ruling Conservatives and their latest leader. In that city, leader Rachel Notley and her candidates are polling at 43 per cent of the decided voters.
Political scientist Faron Ellis noted the Mainstreet poll was “a snapshot” taken just as Albertans were responding to the government’s plans for cradle-to-grave tax hikes. “But they have been very accurate in the last few elections they’ve tracked,” Ellis said.
“They had a large sample size, and the patterns were very similar to ours” in recent Citizen Society Research Lab surveys.
Mainstreet said that sample gives it a margin of error of just 1.8 per cent, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.
Given the timing, Hale said, “It’s not surprising that the premier has had a bit of push-back.”
“The budget was heavy on slapping the general public,” but Albertans expected to see big business step up to the plate as well. “There was political room for an extra point on the business income tax,” he pointed out.