New pool on the horizon for Thompson as city asks for construction proposals

The long-awaited construction of a new pool in Thompson, Man, seems to finally be moving forward with the announcement of a public bid to find a developer.

The closure of the Norplex Pool on Feb. 14, 2019 has led to significant frustration in the northern Manitoba city over the last four years.

The pool “was one of the one of the pillars of life in the community,” said Luke Deibert, the former swim coach for the Thompson Torpedos. “It was a great dynamic atmosphere, very welcoming place to be.”

The closure in 2019 was a result of issues with ventilation, obsolete and failing electrical systems, as well as water damage from excess humidity.

On April 20, however, the city posted a request for proposals for construction of a Thompson Aquatic Centre, with closure of the public bid anticipated for May 19. 

The pool’s closure came abruptly, according to a news release announcing the closure in 2019, leaving many community members frustrated.

Portrait of a man in a button-up shirt.
Luke Deibert, former coach of the Thompson Torpedoes, says the swim team would make a return if Thompson had a pool available once again. (Submitted by Luke Deibert)

“[Thousands] of people used it every year,” said Deibert. “There wasn’t a person in Thompson that wasn’t impacted by that facility.”

“There was at least two, maybe three surveys done of the townspeople of Thompson,” he said. “Each of those surveys … the majority thought that the pool was very important to the community.” 

Lack of options without a pool

Even those who moved to the community recently have been impacted by the lack of a swim facility. Alanna Salter came to Thompson in September 2021.

“When we moved up to Thompson not very long ago, I was under the impression that there was a pool and we were gonna, you know, be able to walk to it and do stuff in the wintertime and quickly found out that that wasn’t the case,” she said.

Salter, a mother of two kids aged two and four, said the lack of options in the community is another reason to get the facility back up and running.

“Once a week to the play place?” she said. “That’s not a lot of fun.”

Salter, who also works with at-risk youth, touched on the health and safety of the community’s youth as another significant factor for needing a pool.

“For our older youth, right, somewhere they can go and that’s safe and engaging.”

A feasibility study conducted in October 2019 stated that with the issues that led to its closure, the pool had “not been operating properly since approximately 2004.”

Several community and city-led studies have taken place in the four years since the shut down of Norplex Pool, including an update from the city on the development of a new pool in October 2021.

Now, once the request for proposals closes, the city will begin the review process and decide which company will take on construction of the pool. The final cost of construction will also be identified.

Deibert said that when the facility returns, he’d be more than happy to pick up the reins of swim coach once again.

“We have plans,” he said. “Right now, our swim club is kind of in dormancy, but we have all of the seeds ready to go if and when we get a pool going.” 

“So we have assets, we have people in place that can restart the club, [people] who have been committed, even though we’re not really active right now.”

View original article here Source