‘Eventually, this pool tank will fall apart’ – architect


Architect Doug Wournell points to a crack in the main foundation of the Four Seasons Pool. Bill Phillips photo



If you’ve ever had an old beloved car that was nickling and diming you to death, then you know what it’s like to own the Four Seasons Pool.

At some point in time you have to evaluate whether it makes sense to keep adding new parts to a crumbling frame. Like the old saying goes, it’s throwing good money after bad, says architect Doug Wournell, of Dialoque which created the city’s aquatic needs assessment.

Some piping under the Four Seasons Pool. Bill Phillips photo
Some piping under the Four Seasons Pool. Bill Phillips photo

And crumbling is an adequate decision. Inside the bowels of the Four Seasons Pool, it’s evident that the concrete tank, which holds the water, is decaying. The humidity and chemicals involved with the pool are working away at the actual tank with leachate prevalent. In one spot, there is an actual leak and in another corner of the tank, a rather large crack.

“There’s no way we can fix this,” said Wournell of the leachate. “There’s no way we can come in scour these areas and make this right again. Over time, we’d start to see some structural problems and we would have to do patchwork pieces of steel in here in order to hold the walls together. Nothing imminent, nothing to worry about in the next few years. But eventually, this pool tank will fall apart.”

The city is seeking approval to borrow up to $35 million to build a new pool on the Days Inn site and demolish the Four Seasons Pool.

The mechanical areas Four Seasons Pool are old, outdated and cramped. There isn’t enough room, he said, to add the new equipment to update the pool. The old equipment, which is still the original equipment from the 1970s, won’t be used in a new pool.

“It is basically at the very end of its life as far as being efficient,” he said. “The problem is how do you replace this kind of equipment when you’re down below everything.”

Another problem with the Four Seasons Pool is that it was built during a time when accessibility wasn’t even an afterthought, it just wasn’t considered.

“There’s only really three ways to get into this building,” he said. “From the parking lot, which is where most people come, there’s no ability for anyone with mobility issues to get up those stairs, and even if they do, once they get in the building they have to come up another set of stairs.”

The alternative, for those parking in the parking lot, is to go all the way around the building and use a ramp that is tough to climb even for wheelchair athletes, never mind seniors or others with mobility issues. Or use the main entrance.

Doug Wournell says a new pool will be more accessible. Bill Phillips photo
Doug Wournell says a new pool will be more accessible. Bill Phillips photo

Once inside the main doors, there is another set of stairs which, at least, has a lift. However, the lift is slow, requires an attendant to unlock, and doesn’t accommodate scooters.

“No matter how you look at, if you’re a person with mobility issues, this is an inaccessible pool,” Wournell said.

A new pool, if passed in the referendum, will be largely built to grade, which means no huge sets of stairs like the current pool.

“(At a new pool) there will be nothing to impede (those with mobility issues), you don’t have to wait for someone to get you, you don’t have to wait for a contraption, you come into the pool, pay, change and go out into the pool deck area.”

In addition, he said, there will be ramps into the teach pools and therapy pools so there will be no barriers.

The design for the new pool will also include family change rooms that are designed to be family change rooms. Currently, the Four Seasons Pool uses a normal change room which has been retrofitted. The result is a very cramped family change room.

Prince George residents will vote October 28 on whether to replace the pool.


  • Jo G

    I think most people realize the existing pool has seen the end of its days. That is a no brainer to me.

    However, to shove that into our face to justify a bad plan of replacing it, is the height of arrogance by the City.

    A city the size of PG requires at least three pools, if not four, in three to four different locations, NOT two.

    They should have asked people in ALL parts of PG WHERE they would like to have those 3 to 4 pools located. They didn’t!

    The plan is flawed, therefore it should be nixed.

    Build a pool like Vanderhoof’s in College heights and a similar priced one at the Y – price is $12 million in Vanderhoof. Take a look at the drawings on the web.

    That is $24 to $26 million for now. Leave the hotel spaces downtown for conferences, conventions, etc.

    Make an agreement withe the Regional district to jointly fund the aquatic centre from now on as a regional pool, like the library, the museums and the art gallery. When that is accomplished, build a pool in the Hart within 5 years if the population of PG and regional suburbia population continues to grow.

    When are we going to get a planner with some experience in these matters??

    • Katie Kate

      I have been writing to the city to install recreation centres including pools on each side of the City. Blackburn already has the land, as does the Hart. Why does the City of PG want to jam up the intercity core with people wanting to take care of their health near their home. Instead we slide down into the centre of town where basically all the parking is already at a premium and the City of PG employees park for free. It’s a travesty the Hart senior have no winter recreation sites, it’s intolerable that the West side including the University has no pool just more and more housing. I do not understand why the City of Prince George wants to jam children, families and seniors into a downtown rec centre making it harder for Emergency Services to combat more traffic and more people. We need a recreational all year round useable leisure centre on all four sides of the City. A city that is only going to grow in size. Get with it council.

  • Rad11

    What they don’t even talk about how much? hmm .Like I said before 44 million is a lot for a new pool.4 million for a hotel that sold for 2million 2 years ago hmm. They said it would cost 10 million to do basic upgrades to old pool. Then spend another 10 million to do more upgrades .Save 24 million for pool in Collage Heights or the Hart.

  • rigormortice

    Whats to stop those with mobility issues from using the other swimming pool.?? Why are they making such an issue about access for mobility challenged people. They make it sound like it is impossible to navigate into this pool, when in fact there are three separate entrances, and facilities to help those with challenges. The senior and people with mobility issues is a red herring, and not really an issue. Lets keep in mind that with 120,000 users per annum, (we can assume that most users are regulars) so in effect we are talking about approx 800 people who use this pool on a regular basis. That’s a huge spend for 800 people. Much like the PAC. The hyperbole about how the pool is falling apart brings back memories of all the horror stories about the old Police station. In other words make it look as bad as possible so that we can build a new one.

    I’m thinking that if we can go to the moon, build a super collider, fight two world wars, plus many other great achievements we can make some needed repairs to a swimming pool. If not then we should hang our heads in shame.

    Having said that, if we should go ahead with this pool idea, then we need the City to take some responsibility for funding other than just borrow the money and increase our taxes. There is a lot of things going on at city hall in regards to the pool, fire hall, etc; etc;, problem is we the taxpayer are not privy to this information. Soooo. We need the City management and department heads, the Mayor, and Council, to come to grips with the reality of Prince George and face the fact that we cannot continue to act like Diamond Jim Brady, when we are for all intents and purposes, taxed to the hilt for the benefit of high paid Government workers, contractors, developers, etc; with nothing in the pot for those who pay for it all. ie: The taxpayer. Taxpayers need a break, and its up to this Council to deliver it.