Upgrading the fun factor at rec centre pool

Recreation Oak Bay aquatic director Meghan Mathias sits in one of two water slides at the Oak Bay Rec Centre pool which are slated for refinishing.

Recreation Oak Bay aquatic director Meghan Mathias sits in one of two water slides at the Oak Bay Rec Centre pool which are slated for refinishing.

Pool patrons will notice some dramatic changes when they return to Recreation Oak Bay’s Bee Street aquatic centre after the annual shutdown.

Normally the pool is closed for two weeks for an annual cleaning. But it will be shuttered for the entire month of June for more than a good scrubbing.

“This will have a better, smoother ride,” said Meghan Mathias, aquatics coordinator, standing beside the 46-metre water slide.

The 35-year-old slide is going to be refinished and painted a bright blue. In addition, the ceramic wall tiles in the shower areas will be replaced with 7.6-centimetre square white and blue ones.

As well, washroom stalls and cubicles will be replaced with stainless steel versions similar to those on B.C. Ferries, and lockers are being replaced. Current ones will likely be sold for scrap.

The $150,000 project is the first major upgrade the facility has seen since 2002.

Swimmer Cathy Makroff is at the pool twice a week and is glad to know new lockers will be arriving.

“This one wasn’t working,” she said, pointing to one she tried to use.

A new sea creature will also be installed at the northwest corner of the kiddy pool. The stationary octopus is being crafted by Victoria-based Wonderworks. Unlike Robbie the dinosaur, another kiddy pool feature, the octopus does not yet have a name. A contest will be held to find a name for it, Mathias said.

Repainting the slide was a less expensive option than replacing it, she said.

“A new one would have required an entry tank and we would have lost some (of the existing) curves.”

The aquatic centre will be closed from May 30 to June 26. The closure does not affect other facilities at the recreation centre.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com