On Tuesday, April 19th at a Special Meeting of Council, Loyalist Township Council received a report and presentation from staff on the condition of the 47-year-old pool at the W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre.  The pool has been closed since March 9th initially due to water chemistry issues, however, several underlying infrastructure issues were identified, including cracking of the pool basin.

The cracking of the basin would require substantial investment to repair with no guarantee of success. Over the past several years, the pool has required frequent closures to attend to maintenance issues over and above normal operations.

The Township has recognized the need for a new pool and have been exploring development and funding options for the past several years.

In a report to Council in June 2021, the costs for building a new pool facility were estimated to cost $25M while retrofitting the existing facility by constructing a new aquatics facility as part of the current aquatic footprint, was estimated to cost in excess of $24M. Following this report, the Township applied to the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) federal funding program In July 2021, under both a new build and a retrofit funding stream.  It was noted, at that time, that the New Build stream was the Township’s preference, as this option would have allowed the pool to continue to operate while the new facility was being built at a different location on the site. If approved, the potential funding available from the GICB grant represent a significant portion of the project cost. For a new build, the estimated funding would be more than $13M and under the retrofit stream funding would be more than $15M. The Township continues to await notification from the federal government as to whether the project has been selected for funding. As recently as April 13, staff were informed that, “officials continue to diligently review and assess projects for eligibility and merit” and that the program administrators could not provide a more precise timeline for a decision at this time.

Following the presentation on April 19th, Council directed staff to close the pool until further notice and to work with regional partners to source interim aquatic options for Township residents and report back to Council with updated retrofit costs and financial options for Council consideration.

“We recognize the importance of this aquatic facility to our community. From our youngest residents to our oldest residents, this pool provides a vital recreation opportunity,” stated Loyalist Township Mayor, Ric Bresee.

“Council has requested a report that will provide updated costs while identifying a long-term funding plan and financial options to ensure that we’re pursuing the most financially sustainable option for the future of the pool at the W.J. Henderson Recreation Centre. In the interim, Council has directed staff to pursue partnerships that will provide our residents with options for aquatic programming.” added Bresee.

Township staff are in discussions with potential partners who are willing to work with the Township to assist with providing aquatic services to our residents in the interim. Further information will be provided as soon as details can be confirmed.  We recognize the inconvenience of this disruption, and we thank residents and patrons for their patience.