City hall pool won't be ready until October amid construction delays

The rain and a structural snag are to blame for a construction setback on the Edmonton city hall pool, which was expected to open this summer.

'We're going to make every effort to get it done earlier'

Crews work on the wading pool outside city hall on Thursday. Construction was scheduled to wrap up this summer but rain and a structural issue is expected to push the project back to October. (Art Raham/CBC)

The pool outside Edmonton City Hall won't open this summer as construction delays are expected to push the project back until October. 

The wading pool and fountains were slated to open this summer as part of a multi-million dollar project to revamp City Hall Plaza.

The city's recent rainfall and a structural issue are to blame for the setback, according to Eugene Gyorfi, a program manager for infrastructure deliver with the city. 

Crews discovered moisture bubbles in the waterproof membrane separating the pool's concrete base and granite tile facade. Gyorfi said the membrane is integral to maintaining the 25-year life of the pool, which also serves as a skating rink in the winter. 

"We think that the extra couple of weeks will give us a better product in the end and something that we'll have minimal issues with lifecycle maintenance," he said. 

Eugene Gyorfi, program manager for infrastructure delivery, says rain and a structural issue are responsible for the construction setback. (Art Raham/CBC)

In April, when the first layer of concrete was poured, Gyorfi insisted the project was on time.

But one of the last concrete pours, scheduled for this week, was pushed back due to rain, Gyorfi said. Tents have been put up to cover the project site but the wet weather has also slowed down granite installation.

"We're hoping to be earlier than October, but to be safe, we want to make sure that our expectations are realistic to communicate to the public and if we can we're going to make every effort to get it done earlier." 

The delay won't add to the project budget. The contractor is responsible for additional costs related to the construction setbacks, Gyorfi said.

Gyorfi said the $13.4 million budget to renovate City Hall Plaza only covers construction. The total project, including two design phases and overhead costs, is expected to cost the city $17.4 million.

Councillor Aaron Paquette called news of the delay frustrating and disappointing. 

"But the consistent message that I get from my constituents is, take the time to do it right, so that's what the city is doing," he said. 

Paquette said the silver lining is that ongoing LRT and library construction might have kept people away from the pool this summer regardless. 

"I guess we'll never know at this point," he said.


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