Cambridge Bay sets recreation infrastructure priorities

Aging arena and recently shut pool both may be up for replacement

The Cambridge Bay arena reopened in March this year after being closed for over a year due to mould. A new arena remains a top priority for the community’s new recreational facility and it could be in the works next summer. (File photo.)

By Elaine Anselmi

This fall, Cambridge Bay residents will sit down to discuss what they want to see in a new recreational facility.

They’ve already met a few times on the topic, but the recent closure of the community pool could see that conversation shift, said chief administrative officer Marla Limousin.

Municipal staff first noticed an issue with the community pool on July 29, and immediately decided to close it, just a few weeks into the six-week season it’s open.

“The side walls were pushing out, so we were worried that if they extended any further, the water was going to bust through that,” said Limousin. “And any kids in the pool would get pulled by the current it would generate, so as a safety precaution, it was closed.”

Yet the replacement of the community’s aging arena currently remains an even bigger priority, said Limousin.

“Our arena, the current facility, is just pitiful,” she said. Despite its reopening this spring, a large area at the front of the building still needs work and the upper level remained closed to the public due to mould.

“Priority number one is getting an arena built, and then we’ll see what priority two is, depending on this,” said Limousin, referring to the ongoing work to assess the damage to the pool, and the cost of fixing it.

The pool has been open for 31 years and so far needed only minor repairs. The issue right now appears to have to do with permafrost melting underneath the pool.

“We have to drain the pool first, which is what we’re doing now, and then pull the liner, which isn’t an easy job because all the decking has to come off, then we’ll be able to see what the braces are doing, what’s happening down there and how bad it is.”

This is not a quick fix, Limousin said, and depending on the damage, the pool may not be worth fixing.

If it can be fixed relatively cheaply, to keep in use for the next couple of years, then she said that would likely happen. But as the community grows, a bigger pool will be needed.

“This is a children’s pool, not an adult pool,” she said.

Limousin expects fixing the pool to be even more difficult than cleaning up the mould that saw the community arena close for over a year until this March.

The municipality plans to set priorities for a new recreational complex based on what’s heard at meetings, held six times a year, to gather community feedback, said Limousin. But there are only so many dollars.

“We’re working with students from Laval University this fall to come up with that multiplex configuration,” said Limousin. “What we’ll do is build it in modules as we acquire the funding.”

The community has been fundraising for many years for a facility, Limousin said. There will be more fundraising, lobbying for grants and, depending on the priorities of different governments, they’ll be looking at what pots of money are available for the future facility.

“So that will be a whole campaign that will come out over the winter this year. Once we know what we’re building we can start shopping,” she said.

But the prospects are good that material for the new arena will arrive on a barge next year, said Limousin. “Funding is in the works and a case has been made,” she said. “We’re just waiting to hear.”

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by annonymous on

    The arena, curling rink, weight room as well as what used to be Hamlet Offices, am guessing were built almost 34 or 35 years ago. Minor & Senior hockey mostly depend on this soon as they iced the arena for use and/or others who use it for their children’s skate party etc. Thank you to the community for fund raising, the children of today need a place to go, rather than walking the streets late at night and/or being mischief.

  2. Posted by Cam Bay Baller on

    For being a basketball town, Cambridge has never had a proper outdoor basketball court. If they could put up 2 side by side outdoor full size basketball courts and 10 ft rims for everyone to use in the summer months it would be appreciated by literally hundreds of people, even more than a hockey rink in this town. The school DEA gives everyone the boot each summer from the gyms and all there is is a mini court with 8 ft hoops outdoors. Baker, Rankin, Iqaluit all have proper height and solid hoops. I encourage the hamlet to meet with the local men’s BBall league and high school coaches to figure this one out. Use the resources and knowledge you have available to you.

    • Posted by Cam Bay Baller on

      A nice weight room and year round pool would go a long ways to improving the health and morale of the community as well. I’d say tear down the old Hamlet and Arena and build anew. That old building is an eyesore right in the heart of town.

  3. Posted by Oscare on

    A multi-use facility would be most beneficial to the communities needs. You can have a new bigger rink, bigger hall, Youth Center, kitchen, and maybe a new pool, etc. Local infrastructure in Cam Bay is very outdated and needs replacement. The new building should be very energy efficient (partner with Polar Knowledge Canada/CHARS).

    In order to curb youth vandalism, a new multi-use facility should be built to keep them busy during the day and evenings.

    • Posted by Cam Bay Baller on

      There is already a newish community hall with a kitchen, a functional youth center. What this community needs is not a multi-use facility, it desperately needs a real Recreation Facility, to engage not only the youth; but the community as a whole. A year round pool and weight room should be THE priority, along with a rink and outdoor basketball courts. Maybe even a studio for wellness and workout classes such as yoga and personal training. Children don’t walk around the community looking to play in the community hall, relying on hamlet programs to entertain them. They want to swim, they want to shoot hoops, they want to play hockey and soccer. Put concrete on the rink and in the summer astro turf for indoor soccer for when hockey is done for the season like Kugluktuk, or ball hockey, or even skateboarding and roller blading. The kids just want to have fun! It’s time to bring Cambridge Bay up to speed, a multi-use facility with what you have said is redundant. It’s time to get the town moving again and healthy activities will lead to a happier community and less vandalism.

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