Sunday, August 06, 2006

Summer Fun

Recently I spent some time in Houston, British Columbia doing some work on the new leisure facility. On the last day I was there, I decided to bring along my camera and snap a few pics to compare their facility with the one in Smithers. As well, it's always nice to get a sneak-peek at something before anyone else does, and plenty of my friends were interested in having a look. This pool and leisure centre will be used by families in Houston year-round, and if the rumours of a future waterslide to be built are true, I may just have to make a trip there myself.

Since Alan at Genx@40 is hosting the latest edition of the Red Ensign Standard with the "summer fun: Canadian Style" theme, I've decided to post the pictures and give a bit more information on the pool. I think Alan was hoping for posts that contained "outdoorsy" summer flare, but I'm sure this will suffice. It is, after all, a community project that had broad-based support of residents, businesses, and the municipal government. And a few people made some money, too! What could be more Canadian than that?

With any major town project, there is always grumblings about cost and maintenance. The estimated cost of building the pool is around 4.4 million dollars. This money was collected through individual and corporate donations. You can always tell who donated the most money by the advertisements located around the pool! Two of the biggest donations came from forestry giant Canfor (no surprise there) and the Sullivan GM car dealership, but individuals who donated to the project have their names printed on tiles surrounding the kids pool. All politics aside for today though, I present to you a visual tour of the pool facility.

First of all, there is quite a nice mural surrounding the pool and hot tub. There is a better photo coming up where you can see a little more clearly. The pool is 25 metres (about 80 feet) in length, and at the far end you can see three white diving platforms. No diving board; however, as the maximum depth is less than 3 metres (under 10 feet).

As always, click to enlarge/borrow any pictures. Part of the reason we were there was to ensure the round ducting near the ceiling was free of dust and debris. It was a slow process using scaffolding and ladders, but it needed to be done.

Do you see those two trees in between the main pool and kids pool? Well let me tell you about those silly things.

To say they are a pain-in-the-swimming-trunks would be a complete understatement. As an added bonus, we had to remove and reinstall the branches while there was water in the pools. Well, I shouldn't "we" really, one of my co-workers did it (that's him in the bottom corner)! But I had to watch as he handed them down to me, and let me tell you, it was some kind of nerve wracking. The trunks of the trees are painted steel, but the branches are real. I had the sap on my hands for two days after handling them all.

The kids play pool is really quite something as well. You can see the white tiles along the sides with the individual donators names on them.
The kiddie pool seems rather quiet and unassuming in this photo, but flick a few switches and...

Another of my co-workers told me that when the plumbers/pump techs were testing the sprayers, he happened to be walking by that side of the pool. He didn't realize they were going to be testing them, and when they came on all at once it startled him quite a bit. They are quite loud and potent! Summer fun for the kids? You bet!

I'd say the artificial river design built into the kids pool is an extremely novel idea:

The rapids move at quite a clip. This picture is one thing, but standing next to it and hearing the jets blasting the water gives it a whole new dynamic.

Ultimately though, I think this is more my style:

I'm not one for doing laps at a pool, and I'm too old to fully enjoy the river and splashy spray jets. I may check out the waterslides because I haven't been on one in years, but the hot tub? Oh yeah, now we're talking. You could comfortably fit 12-15 people in this beauty. And the mural behind the tub makes for a pretty nice back-drop. It gives a summer feel all year round.

So there you have it. The Houston Leisure Facility officially opened on July 28th, although there is still some work to do on the east side of the building. The social lounge, servery, and fitness centre were still being assembled after I left. The first link I posted at the top shows the floor plan of the entire building, whereas I've given you a mere glimpse of the project.

The pool is located on Poulton Avenue next to the Curling Club in Houston. If you are in the area and would like more information, call 854-2238.