The 25-metre swimming pool referred to by locals as the “cool pool” at the Radium Hot Springs Pools has been closed since early September due to construction on a retaining wall located directly above the shallow soaking pool, also known to the public as the “hot pool.”
The spring water from the hot pool is being diverted into the cool pool, rendering the hot pool unusable at this time. The pools were slated to be re-opened as of early October, but plans have changed, following the identification of a need for revision on proposed engineering designs.
Parks Canada maintained their commitment to finishing the project as soon as possible with pools expected to be open to the public by the end of October.
“The retaining wall keeps the highway separated from the hot pool and it was starting to topple so it was a safety issue,” said Julian England, a park site manager for Parks Canada.
Demolition had to be completed on the wall before reconstruction could begin and with the updates to the engineering plans, the project was delayed.
Updates to the facility are part of a localized commitment to ensure that it meets current building codes and safety requirements while modernizing its services.
A large part of the $5.7 million investment the facility received from Parks Canada has gone to making sure it’s structurally sound.
“It doesn’t look like we’ve done a lot but I wanted to spend the money on reinforcing the structures before moving to the interior,” said Mr. England. “This is a cultural resource and, architecturally, it’s an important asset and we want to make sure it’s around for a long time.”
Construction is also underway to restore disabled access to the facility. The old pedestrian access ramp has been demolished and is expected to be restored by January 2018.
The ramp was deemed hazardous following a structural engineer’s assessment that revealed it posed the threat of a catastrophic failure.
Restorative efforts are part of Parks Canada’s $2.6 billion investment to rehabilitate infrastructure assets within national historic sites and national parks over the next five years.
“This historic investment supports conservation while promoting visitor experience and making our infrastructure safer and more appealing to visitors,” said Mr. England. Radium Hot Springs qualified as a federal designated heritage building (FHBRO designated) and was granted the funds to move ahead on an overhaul. The facility holds the title of the first major post-war building in the western parks and was constructed between 1949 and 1951. As such, it is a high priority for conservation efforts in Kootenay National Park. For more information on construction in Kootenay National Park visit www.pc.gc.ca/KNP-infrastructure, or go to www.hotsprings.ca for updates on the pools.