It's been a long few months for Drumheller residents and Town staff. The Drumheller Aquaplex, which was closed in the spring and scheduled to be retrofitted and re-opened in late-September has suffered a number of delays. The new tentative opening date: Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 (subject to upgrades to the fire alarm system which should be completed on Thursday, December 28).

"It's been a bit of, almost like putting together a jigsaw puzzle where you're expecting pieces to fit and then you find out that there's something that's just not fitting in the way you're expecting it to," explained Darryl Drohomerski, CAO of the Town of Drumheller. "Then you have to do troubleshooting to make sure that you can actually get the items working the way that they're supposed to."

Here's a run-down of the issues that have delayed the pool opening from its original Nov. 16 date:

  • A leak in the pool required it to be partially drained so that divers could search for the leak.
  • The water pressure from the search pushed the ladders out of the deep end of the pool. It took a couple of weeks to find an easy and reasonable solution to fix the ladders without jeopardizing the pool deck and surrounding structures.
  • A second leak, this one in the hot tub, took a few days to find an repair. The leak was found under the pool deck.
  • New guidelines from Alberta Health Services this fall increased the pump flow rate (changes of water per hour). Although the Town believed they were well within the acceptable range, tests after the pool was filled showed that the pump flow rate was too low.
  • Increasing the pump flow rate in the pool took a few weeks.
  • Increasing the pump flow rate in the hot tub required a new pump and additional filters.

Because the pool takes up to five days to fill, the leak and the low pump flow rate were not discovered until the end of the construction process.

"Some of this stuff, you can't do with a pool that has no water in it," explained Drohomerski. "You can't actually check to see whether or not the filtration system is working properly until it's full of water and, then of course, once it's full of water and then you find you have a leak, that sets off a chain of events."

Customers of the Aquaplex have expressed frustration with the Town and the numerous delays.

"The one thing that we well know, and well expect, all of our customers are going 'what's going on?'" admitted Drohomerski. "I'll tell you: Our contractor, our consultant, our staff (whether it's our pool staff or our operational staff), we're all getting older by the day just frustrated with some of these things that have come out of left field."

Drohomerski said that staff have been working almost non-stop for the past month to get the repairs completed.

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