The Canfor Leisure Pool will open to the public on Nov. 14, according to information on the City of Prince George's website.
A series of "soft-launch preview swims" will be held from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12. Those swims will be limited to 200 people, who will be able to pre-register for spots. In addition, a grand opening will be held on Nov. 13 with 200 swimming spots available, along with games, prizes and cake. Residents can register online starting at 9 a.m. on Nov. 1.
Starting on Nov. 14, the Canfor Leisure Pool will be open from 9 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The pool's waterslide will operate, starting at 4 p.m on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends.
The NinjaCross course will only be open Friday starting at 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and again from 6:30 p.m. to close.
The $39.126 million project was originally expected to open in September. A ribbon cutting ceremony and media tour of the pool was held on Wednesday morning.
“The delay is largely attributed to unanticipated trade defaults and labour shortages which are outside of the project controls. The project is anticipated to remain within this completion schedule provided there are no extenuating circumstances such as system deficiencies identified through the commissioning process or supply chain delays,” city director of recreation and events Andy Beesley reported to city council in August.
The original budget for the pool was $35.75 million, plus $500,000 for the addition of the NinjaCross course, which council approved on Feb. 22, 2021. The city received $10 million in provincial and federal grants to cover a portion of the project cost.
Of the $2.876 million cost overrun, $1.7 million was attributed to deficient primer which was on the structural steel beams when they were delivered, Beesley reported to city council in August. The city is “actively seeking compensation” for the costs linked to the deficient primer, he added.
“Much of the project’s construction has taken place during the pandemic with impacts to the project budget and schedule from market conditions and other factors,” Beesley wrote. “However, the project remains in scope and will feature the first NinjaCross obstacle course in Canada.”
In May, city council approved a five-year naming rights deal with Canfor for the pool. Under the deal, Canfor will pay the city $75,000 per year for five years for the naming rights, with the option to extend the deal for another five years.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 19, Beesley said the city faced significant challenges, building the pool throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was absolutely incredible the challenges,” he said. “It really has been profoundly difficult.”
More than 40 local subcontractors took part in building the project, employing several hundred local workers.
“There is a lot of finishing touches to be done,” he added.
Work will continue over the next few weeks on many cosmetic details inside and outside the building, Beesley said. Depending on the weather, completion of the landscaping may take until the spring, he added.
Some of the amenities offered by the new pool include a waterslide; a NinjaCross obstacle course which can be raised to the ceiling when not in use; a six-lane 25 m lap pool; a four-lane, 25 m teaching pool; a leisure pool with lazy river, play features and beach-style entrance; viewing area; classrooms; sauna and steam room; accessible shower rooms; and dedicated male and female change rooms, along with a large universal change room.
City aquatics manager Jim Worthington said the NinjaCross course includes two courses, one less difficult and one more difficult. Hitting a button at the end of the course stops the timing clock and sounds a horn.
The course is the first of its kind in Canada, and pool operators from several provinces have expressed interest in coming to see how the course works, Worthington said.
Significant attention has been paid to making the pool fully accessible, with features including dedicated wheelchair-accessible, seniors and family parking stalls; accessible changerooms; wheelchair lifts into all three pools; level entry into two of the pools and stairs with handrails into all three pools; braile signage; and other features.
The pool will feature a wall of Indigenous art in the lobby, a mural by local artist Kim Gouchie and “a shiny, brand-new bronze Terry Fox statue,” will be installed outside the pool in the coming weeks, Beesley said.
Demolition of the Four Seasons Leisure Pool, which the Canfor Leisure Pool will replace, began in September.
The Canfor Leisure Pool is located at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Quebec Street.
📣 It's the moment you've all been waiting for: an update on the Canfor Leisure Pool! Here's a little sneaky peak from last week. 📣— City of Prince George (@CityofPG) October 19, 2022
Registration for the soft open (Nov. 9-12) and grand opening (Nov. 13 at 5:30) swims will open on November 1 at 9 am! #CityofPG pic.twitter.com/mcqtjK1h8l