A report from Kmetz Architects said Riordan Pool in Ottawa need $550,000 of repairs in order to open next season, along with additional repairs of $1.2 million in the next five years.
Commissioner Marla Rodriguez said the immediate needs address safety issues between both the building and the pool, specifically taking care of some rust and the roof.
“I don’t think we can go much further without either making an investment or shutting down the pool, and a lot of cities have shut down their pools,” Rodriguez said. “I personally do not want that and I don’t believe the rest of the council does, either.”
Rodriguez said some of these issues were known because of a prior assessment done a few years ago before she was on the council.
Commissioner James Less, who handled recreation before Rodriguez, said this is something that came across his desk and it was expected, as a concrete pool like Riordan Pool will typically last about 50 years. The pool opened in 1966.
Mayor Dan Aussem said he was surprised when the assessment price came out to less than $2 million. The assessment said fully replacing the pool with a brand new one would cost about $4 million, which he also thought was lower than expected.
“We will have to have some discussion to figure out how we’re going to get funding for it,” Aussem said. “It gets used quite a bit and we’ve had some preliminary discussions with the YMCA about doing some maintenance and pool stuff, and they have people on staff that know how to handle that.”
Aussem said Riordan Pool is the kind of place everyone who grew up in Ottawa has fond memories of: He recalls walking across the footbridge where what is now Guion Street with his siblings and they cooled off at the pool on many days.
“For a building that’s 50 or 60 years old, it wasn’t surprising to see that we’d have to take care of rust and mechanical issues and some ventilation, and there’s issues for people with disabilities,” Aussem said. “Once we commit to fixing these issues and finding the money, we can make it a more inclusive space.”