Nova Scotia

Truro outdoor pool to reopen in summer 2022 after $1M upgrade

Truro, N.S., residents will have to wait another summer to jump in their outdoor pool, but councillors say taking the time to do it "correctly" will set up the facility for decades to come.

'This pool is a priority. It is part of the history of the town, it's over 60 years old,' says town councillor

A man dives into the water of an outdoor swimming pool in Rome on May 25, 2020. Truro's outdoor pool in Victoria Park will reopen in 2022 after an $1-million upgrade. (The Associated Press)

Truro, N.S., residents will have to wait another summer to jump in their outdoor pool, but councillors say taking the time to do it "correctly" will set up the facility for decades to come.

During a meeting Wednesday afternoon, town council voted to move ahead with a phased approach to upgrading the Victoria Park Pool over the next two years. 

The project carries a $1-million price tag, with a reopening set for summer 2022.

"It was a difficult decision not to see it open this year, but it's the one that I believe is the right decision," said Coun. Bill Thomas.

"It will open up completely finished."

Pool upgrades will run $550k

Wednesday's motion allows staff to award a $550,000 tender for a new pool liner and address a pipe leak. The job will be completed by Sept. 30, 2021, CAO Michael Dolter said during the meeting.

Then next year, a tender will go out for pool house upgrades. Dolter said that work will be completed no later than May 31, 2022.

The motion passed 6-1, with Coun. Alison Graham the lone dissenting vote.

After she posted about the pool on Facebook, Graham said she received hundreds of letters and comments from people asking that the pool be opened as-is this summer.

She said construction should begin as soon as possible, and delaying opening until 2022 "would not be in the best interests of our citizens."

Truro Mayor Bill Mills is looking for fundraising help on the upgrades to the Victoria Park Pool, which is expected to have a $1-million price tag. (Robert Short/CBC)

Mayor Bill Mills said he had a personal message to the thousands of people who wanted to weigh in on the pool: make a donation to the town to help cover the upgrade costs.

Mills said if the roughly 50,000 people in Colchester County each sent in $10, that would be a "significant fundraiser" that wouldn't hurt the wallet too much.

"That's a couple of cups of coffee and doughnuts. And surely you can give that up," Mills said.

The mayor suggested writing letters to some municipal partners asking them to also pitch in, since the pool draws people from the surrounding area. Other councillors suggested setting up an official fundraising committee.

Dolter said staff are looking to apply for other funding streams to help cover the expenses, including from other levels of government.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and other issues, the pool did not open in 2020.

'This pool is a priority'

Although Coun. Cathy Hinton was hesitant about delaying the opening another year, she said a recent conversation with regular pool users changed her mind.

The residents told her they would sacrifice having the pool open this summer if that meant the work would be done properly and it could be opened up at full capacity next year.

"The bottom line is that this pool is a priority. It is part of the history of the town, it's over 60 years old," Hinton said.

"We need to keep it going and we need to do it correctly."

Dolter noted that while the outdoor pool will be closed this year, they are expecting a brand new splash pad to open in Victoria Park this summer that can help people beat the heat.

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