Repairs to keep major draw closed until spring
Radium Hot Springs pools will be closed for the safety of staff and visitors until at least spring, Parks Canada announced Feb. 26.
Kootenay National Park Superintendent Rick Kubian provided an update on the Radium pool closure at Radium Hot Springs Centre to a gathering of about 50 stakeholders and residents.
Noting he’s from the valley, Kubian said he has a good idea how important the hot springs are to the community.
“From the moment we discovered this problem, we haven’t lost any daylight in terms of dealing with it,” he said.
Kubian said “there are a bunch of different projects” at and around the hot springs aimed to revitalized park infrastructure and one of those resulted in an engineer discovering the problem.
While working on a change room/hallway renovation, it was found the wet hall (hallway leading from change rooms to the pool) had “areas of weakness and in some cases complete disintegration of concrete,” he explained.
“We were able to learn we had a major public safety problem on our hands,” most especially for pools staff as at times they work below the compromised “slab.”
The pools couldn’t be re-opened due to the proximity of the wet hall and ‘shoring up work’ to buy time and keep the pools open “wouldn’t work either” because the work area below the slab would be inaccessible.
So the pools were closed and repair work will commence, with a tentative re-opening date of spring 2020, Kubian said, noting demolition work needs to be done and that will show the extent of the work required to repair the slab.
When the demo work is done, Parks Canada will “come back to the community with a more accurate time frame as to when the pools will re-open. We’re totally aware of the long weekends in the spring – (Easter and Victoria Day) – we’ve got those on our forecast and we’ll do our very best to be open as soon as we can.”
Meanwhile, Parks Canada is working with Tourism Radium on events it can help get behind “to try and bring some visitors into the Radium area” along with some marketing work so the community and Parks Canada can “come out of this the best we can,” Kubian concluded.
Village of Radium Hot Springs Mayor Clara Reinhardt noted during a Feb. 14 Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors’ meeting in Cranbrook that her community is “struggling” from the ongoing closure.
The Radium Hot Springs pools have been closed since January 11.
Pleiades Spa and Wellness remains open.
Lead image: Aerial shot of Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park. e-KNOW file photos