News

Tiles at Penticton pool need to be replaced

The city is spending $150,000 to replace 30.5 x 61 centimetre tiles at the community swimming pool with five by five centimetre tiles. - Western News file photo
The city is spending $150,000 to replace 30.5 x 61 centimetre tiles at the community swimming pool with five by five centimetre tiles.
— image credit: Western News file photo

Just three years after finishing a $28 million renovation and expansion to the community swimming pool, the city is going to be shelling out another $150,000 on the project.

Mayor Garry Litke isn’t sure how the City of Penticton finds itself having to replace the tile floor in the community pool just three years after it was completely renovated.

“We were assured at every juncture that everything was being done according to standards. This was as much of a surprise to me as it was to everyone. It seems to me that this should never have been contemplated,” said Litke, who was on the pool steering committee during the construction phase.

“It sounds like you can’t trust the professionals to give you the best advice.”

The tiles, at 30.5 x 61 centimetres, are too large to provide adequate grip for pool users’ bare feet, and according to Chuck Loewen, the city’s recreational facilities manager, are costing more than $79,000 annually to maintain in a slip-resistant condition.

Loewen asked city council Monday to allocate $150,000 to replace the entire 1,200 square metres of tile with a much smaller five by five centimetre tile.

When the pool reopened three years ago, after 18 months of reconstruction, Loewen said the new aquatic areas were extremely attractive, using european-style designs, “utilizing the latest of European tile aesthetics.”

“The tiles, as beautiful and aesthetically pleasing as they were, did and do require additional maintenance costs,” said Loewen explaining that to keep the tiles slip-resistant, they require acid etching three to four times per year, plus additional maintenance and powerwashing on a weekly basis.

The acid washing alone comes with a price tag of $61,180 a year, plus taxes, and the additional maintenance adds up to another $18,200 per year, again, plus taxes.

While replacing the tiles will cost $150,000, Loewen said the city will recover that investment over 23 months with reduced maintenance costs.

Loewen said there hasn’t been an unusual amount of accidents at the pool.

“We have had some slips and some injuries, but you have that in every pool,” he said, adding that the tile replacement project is to ensure the pool areas are as slip resistant as possible at the least cost to the city.

“They will be replaced with a 2 x 2 inch tile, with more grout space for more contact, which means more slip resistance,” said Loewen.

“The more grout lines you have on your tile, the more friction you receive.

“Every step you take should have three grout lines hitting the bottom of your foot.”

Over the last three years, according to Loewen, thousands of dollars and many hours of staff time has been spent working with architects, engineers, designers, tile suppliers and care suppliers to determine the best, most cost efficient methods of maintenance.

“Lately, we also tried some grit filled epoxy treatments. About  five or six grades of them have been tested on some floor areas and unfortunately those too have failed to provide a solution for reduced operational costs,” he said.

Funding will come from two sources.

A $57,000 payment earmarked for the Airport Beach lease, which the Kruger family chose not to renew this year, will be reallocated to the project, along with a portion of the annual community works grant, which was larger than planned for this year.

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