The Cowichan Aquatic Centre will soon undergo a major retrofit and expansion to better serve local residents, thanks to a $2,377,000 grant from the Federal Gas Tax Fund.
Since the facility opened in 2008, its swim club has expanded significantly, outgrowing the very limited space on the pool deck where warm-ups, cool-downs and training occur.
In addition, the fitness and wellness portion of the building is overcrowded and unable to expand its programming.
The gas tax funding is planned to be used to relocate the current storage area on the pool deck, creating more space for swim clubs, and adding folding bleachers behind the diving boards to improve spectator access.
The renovation will also reconfigure and expand the facility’s upstairs gym, expand the group fitness rooms, and create some private areas for training and user intakes.
North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said at the event to announce the funding on March 9 that the facility is more than a pool and a gym; it’s an intergral part of the community.
He said the referendum held more than a decade ago in the Valley to determine if the public wanted to move forward with building the CAC passed by a mere 51.4 per cent and some thought the project should be abandoned at the time.
“But we decided the community needed this facility and we’ve been overwhelmed with people using it since it opened,” Lefebure said.
“Now we’re running out of space to meet our needs, so it’s time for improvements to the facility.”
Selina Robinson, B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, who was also at the event, said improvements to infrastructure make the province’s communities even better places to live.
“Investments in infrastructure like this facility allows people to be the best they can be,” Robinson said.
“Centres like these are a critical element in any community and we’re pleased improvements will be made to improve this fabulous facility with this funding.”
North Cowichan will also receive an additional $112,500 in gas tax funding to further its asset management program.