Posted on 21 February 2013 by Keith Lacey
A recent unexpected flood has some members of Town of Osoyoos council questioning whether it’s time to stop pouring money into the Desert Park recreation complex, with some suggesting the time has come to consider tearing down the building.
On Jan. 24, a pipe burst at the recreation complex, located in the lower level of the Desert Park racetrack grandstand facility, and caused the front entrance to be flooded. The pipe that burst was on an independent water service that was not being used and had not been used in over a decade.
Since the flood, staff has received notification that the water damage will be covered through insurance, however, the deductible will be $5,000, said Gerald Davis, the town’s director of community services, during a presentation to town council Monday.
The large amount of water that poured into the main entrance as a result of the burst pipe mixed with a large amount of bird feces from the facility’s second floor, so an environmental consultant needed to analyze the building, said Davis.
An independent assessor has already visited the site and completed an assessment and is in the process of completing a detailed analysis and will inform the town on how to best proceed with cleanup, said Davis.
The building has reopened with all users, including a local martial arts group and numerous squash players, using the facility, said Davis.
Only the local archery club has not been able to resume using the facility since the flood, he said.
Depending on the type of cleanup that will be needed, the area where the archery club was situated will not be available for some time. It may take several months to clean up the one area used by the archery club as all equipment has to be removed and cleaned, he said.
“Once the building is brought back to a restoration level, we should consider sheeting the second floor to keep the birds out of the area,” said Davis. “We are in the process of getting a quote.”
The town won’t pay the $5,000 deductible on the insurance claim until the environmental assessment report is completed and presented to town staff and council, said Barry Romanko, the town’s chief administrative officer.
Coun. C. J. Rhodes said he’s against spending any more money on a recreational facility he believes is falling apart.
“Since being elected to council in 2008 … I’ve been against spending any more money on that building,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes said this latest incident has convinced him the time has come for staff to prepare a detailed report about the facility, which must include an option to demolish it.
“The reality is this is an aging facility and this latest incident demonstrates it’s going to be very expensive to continue operating it,” he said. “We should be looking at all our options … including demolition.”
Mayor Stu Wells agreed the time has come for a detailed report on the building, but stopped short of saying he supports closing it down.
Keeping the main floor operational and removing the second floor might be affordable and allow it to remain open as there is a large number of user groups who use this facility, said Wells.
“I can go either way on this,” he said.
Coun. Mike Plante believes the time has come to consider tearing this building down.
“Is that space really useful? I would say no,” he said.
Davis said he could prepare a detailed report on the facility within a month and suggested that might be a good idea once the environmental assessment report is completed.
Davis expects the environmental assessment report to be completed soon. Town councillors are expected to continue talks on what to do with the recreational facility following the release of that report.