Mould, leaks, rust and more: GRC pool won’t open until at least May 2015

Goulbourn Rec Centre
Goulbourn Rec Centre pool, under repair
Goulbourn Rec Centre pool under repair

Repairs to fix mould, leaks, rust, and structural integrity issues will delay the re-opening of the Goulbourn Recreation Complex pool until at least May 2015.  That’s the earliest you’ll be able to swim or take lessons at the facility.

The facility hosts over 100,000 visits each year, including swimming lessons and recreational swims, according to Dan Brisebois, the city’s manager of aquatic venues and services.

A report to the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) in May outlined a litany of problems with the pool.  Like peeling an onion, as repairs were made on the building,  City staff kept uncovering more flaws within the structure:

  • A regular structural review of the facility in 2010 identified “evidence of corrosion in the structural steel components of both the pool and the arena”, but no immediate remedial work was recommended.
  • In 2012, after City of Ottawa staff raised concerns due to leaking from the pool roof, an inspection was completed that raised concerns about air circulation and moisture. The report cites”an overall lack of air-tightness in the building envelope.”
  • Additional inspections in 2012 found condensation issues in the building,  and recommended that they be fixed before proceeding with repairs for the mechanical air distribution (HVAC) system.
  • The City approved remedial work on the building in 2013, and shut down the pool on August 26 to begin work.  While making the repairs, crews uncovered mould throughout the ceiling.  The closure was extended to December, 2013.
  • Additional mould was then discovered in the walls of the pool building, and the target for completion was extended to June, 2014.
  • In February, 2014, the City announced that the pool would be indefinitely closed after additional tests indicated that the structural steel in the building had deteriorated.
  • Computer simulations of snow loading on top of the structure showed that the steel stresses were not designed to adequately withstand the weight of drifting snow.

Work to fix all the issues includes:

  • Partial demolition of the walls and new steel columns
  • Re-enforcing steel columns supporting the roof
  • A new “curtain wall” system
  • Removal of the upper lateen and replacement of steel decking and roofing
  • Replacing rusting doors and frames
  • New HVAC system
  • New interior finishes
  • Removal of the water slide

Total cost of the work is estimated at $4 million dollars.  FEDCO and City Council have approved the expense and the City is in the process of tendering and awarding a contract for the work.

Repairs are expected to begin in early October, with completion in May 2015.

Inspections are also being made to other parts of the building, including gyms and the lobby area, but city staff say they don’t expect significant issues to be found. A report being tabled to FEDCO on September 2 says that “an assessment of the City’s legal position will be completed in Q3 of this year”.

Brisebois says the mould issues did not affect public health or staff at the facility.

“Air quality testing have indicated that the facility was safe to use,” he says.  “Early stages of mould were discovered and we addressed the issue proactively.”

With the Goulbourn Pool closed for over a year, where have you been swimming?  How has the closure affected you?  Please add a comment below or send us a note at



8 thoughts on “Mould, leaks, rust and more: GRC pool won’t open until at least May 2015”

  1. Who was the original builder? I am glad that they are fixing it anyhow and dealing with legal considerations concurrently and not waiting on that. It is amazing that the structural issues would not have been caught by the engineers or inspectors – or the rest of the issues for that matter. This is not an old facility afaik..

  2. Bengt- The building was originally commissioned by Goulbourn Township around 2000, before amalgamation. I’m not sure who the contractor was but apparently there were some problems with the building when it first opened as well. Earlier today (Tuesday), the City’s FEDCO approved a third-party legal review of the situation — so we may have some more answers by the end of the year.

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