When it comes to opening the doors of the newly renovated Chilliwack YMCA, hopefully the third attempt will be the charm: due to circumstances beyond their control, the anticipated grand re-opening of one of the city’s largest recreational facility has been postponed yet again.
“We’re really looking forward to opening our new and expanded Y in 2019,” said Karen Price, director of Chilliwack’s YMCA. “And our plan is really coming together, however, like all plans, sometimes things—unexpected things—happen. On Friday, Dec. 14, a pipe burst and we had a flood in the basement.”
This caused damage to critical equipment, pool systems, and the building’s hot water. “Some of the equipment can be ordered, but replacement parts will take time (to arrive),” explained Price. “The end result is adjusting the reopening.”
When they originally broke ground for the updated building in October 2016, Steve Butz, president and CEO of the YMCA Greater Vancouver said he hoped they would be able to reopen in September 2018.
Then, in June 2018, they announced there would be another delay due to unforeseen construction delays, and the facility would hopefully be opening to the public in January.
“A broken pipe is unfortunate, but getting it right is the important thing,” said Price. “And in terms of being the right design to serve the community, it’s worth the wait. We’re doing everything in our power (to open quickly), but we want to keep our promises, so while we have anticipated (updated opening) dates, things could change.”
As it stands, Chilliwack’s updated YMCA is now scheduled for a two-part re-opening: on February 18, the facility will host a dry opening, which will be everything but the pool. With Price hoping the pool will be ready for public use by the end of March because “the primary purpose for the pool is (to help) everyone in Chilliwack learn to swim.”
And while the flood really put a damper on the construction process, there have also been a few other hold-ups along the way, such as the building’s signage, which includes its address, was forgotten; the facility’s aluminum entryway doors are stuck in production; and when crews dug up the previous pool, they discovered the sub-pump was installed in part with the help of a plastic peanut butter jar.
That said, Price says all of the staff and volunteers are “really excited about engaging with the community again.” And although they’ve still been operating some programming around the city, opening their facility again will feel like “having our family back in our home again.”