Construction delays mean Saint-Henri pool closed for another summer
Work was set to finish this spring, but delays mean it will be closed until at least least late summer
A popular pool in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighbourhood will remain closed for the second summer in a row while crews work to build a new one in its place.
Construction of the new pool in Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier Square was set to finish this spring, but delays mean it will be closed until at least the late summer.
This is disappointing news for neighbours like Danielle Russell.
"Well, of course I'm thinking about the kids," said the long-time resident. "A lot of them are from families that aren't necessarily moneyed. This is their summer vacation."
"It's a very big part of the community in the summer. And it's a place where people gather, exchange laughs and spend time with others."
The pool, which opened first in the 1960s, was a fixture in the neighbourhood before it became so derelict that the city opted to demolish it and build another in its place.
Craig Sauvé, a city councillor for the Sud-Ouest borough, said in its last few months, the pool was held together by duct tape.
The pool was closed last summer in preparation for demolition. It was supposed to reopen in time for this summer, but its construction is delayed. Currently, the site is just rubble.
Sauvé said the project was delayed for two reasons: the original price in the tendering process was too high so they had to open the pool up for tender again.
The project also went through the urban planning advisory committee, known as the Comité consultatif d'urbanisme (CCU), a couple of times, which slowed down the construction schedule.
Sauvé said the city hopes it will be open by the end of this summer.
"It's something that is really important for the community," he said. "We want to get it done as soon as possible."
New pool costs $6.5M
The plan for the new pool includes a kiddie pool, lanes and an accessible wading area.
It also includes change rooms and an all-season meeting room for community groups.
But the price of the pool — $6.5 million — has some questioning why it is costing so much.
"It's very hard for me to wrap my head around," said Russell.
The city, she said, could have saved money by scrapping plans for the meeting room and simply building the pool, since that is what interests the majority of Saint-Henri residents.
"I really am skeptical of the real need in the community for such an overbuild," she said.
Sauvé said he understands people's concerns, but the cost of the project is mostly due to the plumbing and other technical aspects.