Oshawa Council to vote on contract for new outdoor Rotary Pool Monday

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Published January 26, 2024 at 6:59 pm

The sign is now dated but the planned Rotary Pool is still on, with Council voting on a construction contract Monday

It’s been more than four years since Oshawa residents have been able to enjoy a swim at Rotary Pool as pandemic delays and cost over-runs on the planned new outdoor facility have combined to prevent contractors from getting their feet wet on the project.

That may be finally changing, as City Council prepares to award a contract Monday to get construction on the long awaited re-born outdoor pool at Gibb Street and Centre Street, just south of downtown, underway.

The downside is cost, as the pool, splash pad and playground will now cost taxpayers $18.8 million, more than double what the estimate was when the project was initially approved in the fall of 2021.

A lot has happened in the ensuing years, with supply chain issues and general inflation driving up the price of all infrastructure projects, but the price tag for the pool may still lead to considerable debate at Monday’s Council meeting.

The recommendation from staff and from a recent committee meeting is to award the bid to Maystar General Contractors, who was the lowest bidder of three companies who qualified, underbidding Chandos Construction and Percon Construction.

Half of the cost of the project, if approved Monday, will be funded in 2024, with the second phase to be funded in the 2025 budget.

The City has already committed $1,418,587 for consulting services and the demolition of the previous pool.

After the public was asked in 2021 – two years after the pool was closed following the 2019 season due to structural deterioration – if they wanted a pool or a skating rink in its place, the overwhelming response was to have their beloved pool back, despite City staff’s preference for an outdoor rink instead.

Residents were given two options at the time: Option A – a new leisure pool, major splash pad and destination playground, at a cost of about $8 million, or Option B – a combined major splash pad/ice rink and minor playground.

The four-week consultation elicited nearly 1,000 responses, with 80 per cent voting in favour of a new outdoor pool.

If Monday’s vote goes as planned, the people will get their wish. They’ll just have to pay a lot more for the privilege.

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