Prince George's new downtown pool will soon include what's called a Ninja Cross System, which is set to be a first-of-its-kind in B.C.
City council approved the installation and budget amendment for the obstacle course during last night’s meeting (Feb. 22).
The supply and installation of a dual-lane Ninja Cross obstacle course is estimated at $500,000 and will be funded utilizing the $10-million Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program grant awarded in support of the pool.
The Ninja Cross is an on-demand obstacle course that suspends from the ceiling over top of the lap pool and retracts into the ceiling space when not in use.
It features various overhead, below and on-the-water obstacles to provide fitness and recreational benefits for youth and adults.
“I think it’s the right choice,” said Coun. Kyle Sampson.
“I think if we can increase the options and offerings to the public in this facility, that means more people are going to use it.”
The new pool is currently 25 per cent complete and on budget with $9.1 million have been spent of the $35-million total project budget so far.
City staff said, if Ninja Cross was approved, it should be pursued at this stage in construction as it would be more cost effective to install it in conjunction with the current installation of structural steel.
“I just think it’s too early to start looking at a half-a-million-dollar add-on at this time,” said Coun. Terri McConnachie, suggesting the decision should be made when construction is closer to completion because of the hefty price tag.
“I think at the end of the day, this is something that is going to be a huge benefit to our community,” added Coun. Cori Ramsay.
“We received a $10-million grant and that is not chump change. It is a lot and if we can do something great for our community, I think we should jump at the chance.”
Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall also expressed concern with delaying the decision.
“We could get to a position where it could cost us more money and I can’t see us putting this unit in when the completion of the pool is done. I don’t want us to lose traction on the opportunity now.”
When it came down to a vote, council approved the addition of the Ninja Cross System 7-2, with Councillors McConnachie and Garth Frizzell opposing.
The approval now bumps the capital budget for the Downtown Replacement Pool Project from $35.75 million to $36.25 million.
However, council also approved a budget amendment so the $35 million of borrowed funds from the Municipal Finance Authority will now be reduced to $25.5 million as the city has now approved using the remainder of its $10.75 million in grants to offset this amount.
Another aquatics decision was made last night as city council voted to permanently close the Four Seasons Leisure Pool, the structure which the new downtown pool is set to replace.
The city made the decision to save on the cost of maintaining the pool that's been closed since March 2020, and to plan for the building’s demolition.
Until the downtown pool replacement project is completed, expected for fall 2022, the Prince George Aquatic Centre will be the city’s only public pool in operation.