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Crews have laid the groundwork for the construction of Iqaluit's new aquatic centre but building materials have yet to arrive on site due to sealift delays. - Casey Lessard/NNSL photo

Sealift slows pool progress
Building components for new aquatic centre still haven't arrived, council told

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Monday, August 10, 2015

There has been next to no progress of late on the Iqaluit aquatic centre, which the city had hoped would commence construction last month with the arrival of the first sealift ship. The building materials have yet to hit the shore.

"We are just waiting for the boats to be able to offload the sealift, and they haven't been able to do that yet," director of recreation Amy Elgersma said Aug. 5. "So we're still waiting."

The news comes after Elgersma's last update to council July 14, when she said the project was on schedule. Then the ice arrived in the bay.

"It's a couple of weeks late, so we're hoping the contractor's going to be able to make up the time," she said Aug. 5. "If they don't, we'll have to deal with that then. But we're still hoping we'll remain on schedule."

She said the delay should have no effect on the project's cost.

All of the main structure's steel has been ordered and fabricated, Elgersma said July 14.

The materials will be coming on four boats, she said, but told council the materials were expected to arrive two weeks late. The timeline is now closer to four weeks late.

"Once the steel is offloaded and accounted for, the steel structure will be erected on the site, so you will actually see a building going up this summer," she told council, noting the building will be weather-tight before a winter shutdown period starting in December.

Builders Kudlik Construction is expected to pour concrete this fall. Grading and drainage work has been done, and Kudlik has completed the installation of 25 vertical PVC pipes to assist in ventilating contamination in the ground, she said.

Anodes have been added to the site's piles to reduce corrosion in the future.

The main water and sewer lines have been completed, which meant the pavement in front of the site - directly beside city hall and on the city's main road - had to be cut and patched. At the July 14 meeting, acting mayor Romeyn Stevenson called it "the city's only inverted speed bump" for its traffic control effects.

"It slows me down when I go to that area," councillor Joanasie Akumalik said, but expressed a hope that it would get a good fix. "You and I know that it's going to go down again come winter and spring."

It has since received a temporary fix, and Elgersma said the construction company would fix it at the end of the project, in late fall 2016.

Although the construction is facing delays, the city received more favourable news when the Federation of Canadian Municipalities agreed July 31 to give the city a $7.5 million low-interest loan and a $750,000 grant, both of which received council consent last month.

The Green Municipal Fund money is intended to support energy efficiency at the facility.

The FCM credited the building for its "well-designed building envelope, energy-efficient equipment, and a connection to Iqaluit's waste-heat based district energy system," which "will combine to minimize the 3,500-square-metre Aquatic Centre's energy footprint," a news release stated.

Elgersma applied for the funding in 2013, and council voted July 14 to amend the bylaw to allow the debenture.

Councillor Terry Dobbin asked Elgersma if the facility would eventually pay for itself.

No, she replied.

"We'll work our best at maximizing whatever we can," she said.

"In Iqaluit the cost of living and of operating buildings is much higher than in other places. I'm not able to say that I'm going to break even on the facility."

She noted that some users will be subsidized, while others will pay higher fees.

"I think that's the way it's got to be," she said.

Stevenson asked if the city breaks even on the Arctic Winter Games arena, and Elgersma said no.

Dobbin countered that the arena had much more corporate support when it was built, where the pool has yet to garner significant sponsorship.

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