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October 27, 2017 10:43 pm

Pooling Your Thoughts on the Four Seasons

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 @ 6:10 AM

Prince George, B.C>- The Four Seasons Pool in downtown Prince George is reaching the end of its life,   and the Aquatic Centre  is already 20 years old,  and the demand for water access  is increasing.

Those  are two of the  findings in the latest  report on Aquatic Services in Prince George.

The new report,  which  columnist Peter Ewart  has  written about on two separate  occasions ( Part onePart Two)  seems to be at odds with a previous study  ( referred to as the Tetra Report) on the Four Seasons pool  which said  the facility could be repaired for about $1.84 million (between 2015 and 2024), while the Aquatic Centre would need $2.55 million for upkeep over the same period of time.  The latest report by Dialogue Design  says the Four Seasons  needs to be replaced.

Dialogue Design’s Doug Wournell says   the two reports had  different functions “The Tetra  report  looked  at the condition of the building, so their report  was first to  find out about the condition of the building in terms of stability.  What Tetra said   was yes, this building is ok it needs some repairs to the roof  and some glazing,  but otherwise  things are ok.”  The Dialogue Design study  examined  the functionality of  the Four Seasons Pool,  and Wournell says  it  has failed miserably. “The problems that we found,  were,  being as old as it is,  it no longer serves  as an aquatic  centre the way people expect today. ”

Wournell says the problems include accessibility “Accessibility for people with mobility issues,  or seniors,   is horrendous.”  He says  he witnessed a woman with a cane, making her way  up the  steep steps from the parking lot  then going  through a door she had to open because it’s not automatic,   then down  another set of steps,  and back up  a set of steps  and then make her way to a change room.

He says  getting from the pool to the observing area is also encumbered by  steps,  “When you are  going to the leisure part,  you  have to go  down  steps to get to the leisure water,  so   all throughout that facility accessibility is not   there.”

Then there’s   the  issue with the change rooms,  which Wournell says are  “totally inadequate”. He says because of the way  families are  today,  there are family change rooms,  the days of  just having a men’s  and women’s change rooms  are long  gone.  “The way we do it now, is to have  family  change rooms,  so  you have a common change room with cubicles  where  you can change a whole family and then come out.  There are none at Four Seasons.”

Then on top of that,   Wournell  says renovations over the years have  created staff offices “all over the place”  which makes it  difficult for security  “And if you have to use the washroom, you basically have to ask for the key, like you would at a service station.”  He says no one is to blame, “It’s simply what happens when a building  is at the end of its life.”

Wournell says  one of the things they discovered in  developing the report,  is that there isn’t enough “water”    in Prince George  to handle the demand for  access to pools  “So an additional tank has to be put somewhere, so we’re looking at the Aquatic Centre because it’s so over subscribed at the Aquatic Centre, they  barely have enough space to do learn to swim ( programs).  So when the fix happens,  it will kind of two parts.  One will have to look at  something at the Aquatic Centre to make it more functional, it also  doesn’t have enough family change room space.   Then you come to the Four Seasons.   You can’t get rid of the Four Seasons because you need  that space,  it is fully subscribed so there is no way  of not having the second pool. ”

With no extra capacity to handle  the demand  for  water activities, Wournell says the Four Seasons cannot be torn down while a new one is built  as that construction would take about 2 years. “So whatever happens,  the Four Seasons has to  stay intact until  a second  facility is built somewhere,  basically to replicate what the Four Seasons does,  but  one that is functional, which is the Four Seasons isn’t.

If both pools are oversubscribed as  Wournell says,  how is it that  both are  money losers?  “All pools are money losers” says Wournell “It’s like roads.  You don’t make money on your roads, but you build them anyway.  Aquatic services are recognized as needs , a community good that has to be supported  by tax dollars.”

Wournell says  he believes the answer for the Four Seasons is to build another pool “That has the same basic tank configuration  but one that’s  more efficient,  updated mechanical equipment so  you don’t smell the chlorine , but also with the proper change rooms and amenities that go with   it, nothing elaborate, just something that is better in a functional way.”

He says once a new  facility is built,  the  existing Four Seasons could be re-purposed.  “The question to the people of Prince George is,  if you need these amenities as  is indicated by all the   surveys and public processes we’ve gone through,  you have to be prepared to pay for them and  it’s probably something Council will look at  in a referendum at some point to say  we need these, but are you will to pay for them?”

The City is still gathering information on it’s Aquatic Survey   which can be accessed here.





As early as 1993 the artist conception of that part of town hanging in development services showed the four seasons pool gone.
This city council is determined to put in a performing arts centre.
The electorate must be diligent or we will end up with a shrine to Judy Russell (PAC) and only one pool !

    Artists are known for their fantasy view of reality.

    Was it a signed piece?

    I never thought of the judy russel PAC…
    not that she is really all that deserving but still makes sense in some way…
    and not a bad location once they demolish the old Legion building, there just might be enough room..
    one pool and two rivers…make perfect sense.

    A PAC as a shrine to Judy Russell. That is the best joke so far this year.

    Judy is the gal with enough imagination to have set up a stage at UNBC to put on West Side Story in the summer; perform Jesus Christ Superstar in the Agora as well as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; and transformed the ballroom at the Ramada to put on Cabaret.

    She does not need a PAC.

      She may not need, but I’m sure she would love to have one. What person who organizes musicals and plays wouldn’t want a venue like that?

What we need to do is combine the PAC with the pool and than it will be a easier pill to swallow.

Why has there been no talk of referendum to the PAC? I would pay for another pool way before a performing arts centre. I would like to see more water slides

    Agree! Way more need for a pool/upgrade or replacement. Heck, A pool in the hart area would be more useful than a PAC!!! No moves on this without a referendum! Four seasons could be updated and remain-the cost of replacement is horrendous!! We don’t need to try and squeeze anything more into the downtown area. (PAC)

    How are your guys wants any different than those who want a PAC? I don’t want to pay for any of yours or anyone else’s hobbies. I have to absorb all the costs of any hobbies or entertainment I engage in. If users want a new pool then let them pay for it and maintain it entirely through user fees. The same goes for a PAC.


    The City has wanted one (first a single theatre which has evolved to a PAC with several different sized spaces) since at least Discovery Place which combined a theatre with a civic centre. They failed several times on their own, gave a Society money to make an attempt at so-called arm’s length, did not know what to do when they finished their work and have been stumped for the last 3 years. They are waiting to put together the financing so that they will not have to go to referendum.

    They are incapable of make a case for a PAC so that if they went to a referendum there would be a majority in favour. Discovery Place vote was actually relatively close. Not only that, but 4 people were voted onto Council who supported Discovery Place.

    With the year after year of increasing taxes by about 3 percentage points and more and more shortfalls showing up in proper maintenance of both hard and soft infrastructure maintenance and replacement strategies, the City has killed the goodwill of the people.

    It is my prediction that it will take several more iterations of mayor and council elections before the general population will support future councils in taking another step towards improving the quality of life for the inhabitants of PG. Whether a PAC might be the flavor of the day by that time, who knows.

    It might just be Roller Derbies. ;-)

Never, ever trust a consultant. They are more corrupt than Hillary Clinton on a Benghazi fact-finding mission. The handicapped, and elderly make up a very very small portion of the user base, find a different solution for them. Perhaps a working agreement with the Ramada which has a nice little pool, that is rarely used, and has great access for the elderly and disabled? The city could license their pool, and give out passes to those that cannot access the current pools.

    This particular consultant is now working on the Masich plan, so time will tell what we hear about that next…..

I can see the need to add a pool to the city in the Hart, and adding water slides to the aquatic centre, but to tear down Four Seasons anytime in the next ten years is premature if it’s just accessibility issues. Some other motive is at work here other than pools if Four Bseasons is closed before 2025 IMO.

    Not just accessibility issues, that place is done and if you’ve ever been in there for more than a quick pop in you’d know it.

    I don’t think it’s nearly as easy a fix of just adding water slide to the aquatic centre, the aquatic centre is doing well with what it has, every pool does not not need to have “everything”.

      It isn’t ‘done’ and we cannot afford to build a new one. Find a way to renovate it, make it even better. Can we just use an ounce of creativity in city hall, for once?

      Ask any construction worker, renovations are often more expensive and take more time than building new.

      It is done. Why spend millions to renovate something older when it is probably cheaper and better to build new? Four Seasons served its purpose and was built for generations past and I’ve been many times when I was a kid. Four Seasons has to be replaced and I’m all for a new pool.

One of the primary complaints voiced at the Hart Town Hall meeting was not enough facilities up that way for families and young people which was a direct reflection of the amount of vandalism on the Hart. Why not build a new pool beside the Elkscentre? The land is already owned by the City and is currently not being used for anything.

No offence to those who live on the Hart or College Heights but all new amenities should be built in the main core of PG. It’ll be easier for us all to use them.

    Are you serious? The downtown is done. Build a new one on the Hart handicap accessible. And what’s all these comments about a PAC? It will never survive a referendum, it is a dead issue. When we get our mains re-done, and a new pool, a new park on the north side of Foothills bridge, Ospika continuing to Hwy 16, the list will continue with needs, not wants for the few.

      If they were going to build one, it would be in College Heights, not the Hart. CH and area is where all the growth is. That area is effectively the new downtown in this city. The Hart is as much a dead zone as the old downtown. The fat cats on Tyner will see a pool before you people on the Hart ever do.

      Imagine how the downtown core would look had the various amenities and developments been built there in the first place, instead of them being scattering all over the city.

      Cities are living things and they constantly change. There is no reason whatsoever why the downtown needs to “be done”. All that needs to happen in order to fix it, is to have the people at the city get off their butt and make it a priority instead of finding excuses as to why it can’t be done. For decades, the leadership on this particular issue has been abysmal.

Why all the experts to tell you what you need or don’t need. There was a time when the head of a department was the expert and told city what was needed or the repairs that were required.

I guess they don’t build them like they used to.

City management lesson of the day. Keep spending tax dollars hiring consultant after consultant until you get the answer you want.

The mayor will want in CH..higher value for his property when he moves to bigger things..like MLA for the Liberals.

” Ask any construction worker, renovations are often more expensive and take more time than building new. ”

That comment demonstrates little knowledge of construction or renovation.

    What it actually demonstrates is an understanding of the many possible reasons for renovating. That is the reason fro the large discrepancies between the two consultants. One is looking at keeping the functional characteristics of the Four Seasons Pool the same as now and renewing the mechanical and plumbing systems as well as the building envelope.

    The other is looking at what kind of pool is need in 2020 and onwards as opposed to the facility designed for 50+ years ago, which includes looking at where the population base of the city is today and will be in 30 years from now.

    Things change. The houses of 1910 were not the same as those for 1960 and those were not the same as those for 2010.

    Stand in front of the Corless House on 4th and walk inside. That was a house of financially well of people in the second decade of the 1900s.

    Then go to Ridgeview, St. Denis, end of Malaspina, etc and look at some of the houses in the $500,000 to $750,000 price range and you will see the difference in size and expectations of the residents now and the residents then who were in the top 10 to 20% income groups of their era.

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