When the community of Drayton Valley’s 35-year-old pool started to show its age, the Alberta community set in motion a plan to rebuild a facility that would serve the community for years to come.

Following the successful receipt of a $7.5 million-grant from the Government of Canada’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) and a commitment of $5millon each from the town council and Brazeau County, a ground-breaking ceremony took place for the new Drayton Valley Aquatic Facility on April 2, 2021.

Drayton Valley residents will soon enjoy an 8 lane, 25 metre lap pool, leisure pool and lazy river, hot tub, steam room, multi-purpose room and support spaces as well as a potential water slide.

Drayton Valley Mayor Michael Doerksen says that investing in new facilities is a critical component to any municipality, both for the well-being and enjoyment of its residents and as an important step in growing the economy by attracting new families and visitors to area.

“This is something that the community has been asking for for over a decade,” Doerksen tells Business Elite Canada. “Our current pool is over 35 years old and our community has outgrown it. Changes in regulations have meant that Drayton Valley can no longer hold swim meets and activities such as diving are no longer allowed as the pool no longer meets the depth requirements.”

It’s about more than simply a pool—it has an overall impact on the economy of the community as more families end up travelling for competitions, and families are choosing other communities with newer facilities to call home. “Over the last few years, Town Council has committed to setting aside money for this project and so have our municipal neighbours Brazeau County,” says Doerkson. “When the federal government granted over $7.5 million to the project, that was our green light to get the project underway. Fundraising efforts are still underway, but the bulk of the capital has been secured to proceed and we are extremely excited to see this project finally happen.”

The general contractor for the team is Chandos, who were chosen in a very competitive process which saw the aquatic facility undertake an IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) process. Chandos has a long history of working on IPD projects and has surrounded themselves with likeminded sub-contractors. They submitted their proposal as a group and it was ultimately their experience that made them the successful candidate.

“The Town had used the IPD process in the past with great success, and due to the large capital nature of this project, it was decided that taking the same approach would be beneficial,” says Doerkson. “In an IPD process, you know the exact cost of the facility before you put shovels in the ground. If there are cost overruns, then that comes out of the pockets of the contractors. When dealing with taxpayer dollars, having that certainty was very important.”

The facility has been designed to reduce operational costs by focusing on energy optimization that meets the 2017 National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB), making it energy efficient and further contributing to cost savings in the building. “The roof will have a full array of solar panels that will power a significant amount of the electrical needs for the facility and the high efficiency natural gas boilers will allow the new facility to have reduced energy costs relative to our old facility, even with it being 4 times larger.”

All aspects of the new Aquatic Facility are being designed with energy efficiency in mind. Contractors will be using sustainable materials, finishes and construction techniques, and both energy saving and water saving techniques wherever possible, from roof to footings. All windows will have double pane glazing, and all basins, showers, water closets, sinks, and toilets will utilize low flow technology. Continuous gutters and surge tanks will alleviate water waste due to splash out.

Many residents and families have been anxiously awaiting this news for years and are very excited to see construction begin. Doerkson says there were even tears shed when he and council made the announcement that the aquatic facility was going to be built. “It was a long time coming,” he says, “and there has been some amazing people in our community that have spent a significant amount of time working on making it happen.”