Town of Canmore

Elevation Place Aquatics Centre Service Disruption

Rebates are now available to current Go Beyond and Splash Memberships to compensate for the unprecedented closure of the Aquatics Centre at Elevation Place from Jan. 14 to 24 and Feb. 7 to 13, 2020 (some restrictions apply). Rebates will be issued only upon request. Click here to apply for a rebate before April 19, 2020.

Current Information (Updated March 16, 2020)

The facility is now open with potential partial pool closures. Please note that as part of the Town of Canmore's response to Coronavirus, the steam room and hot tub remain closed until future notice. 

Air-quality results from our latest round of testing indicate that our corrective actions have been effective. Our air system is now running normally.  We are taking an adaptive management approach and will have on-going testing to ensure the continued safety of our facility. As a result, there may be future altered or reduced hours. Always check the Elevation Place Schedule prior to your visit and for information on programming and hours of operation.

Background

Beginning Dec. 29, 2019, Aquatics Centre staff reported eye irritation, coughing, and tightness in chest, dizziness, and nausea over the course of their shifts. Following these reports, we took a series of actions to ensure the health and safety of our guests, members, and staff. These actions resulted in operational adjustments and periodic partial closures and ultimately a full Aquatic Centre closure occurred between Jan. 14 - 28. 

Between Jan. 18 and Jan 27, we conducted a thorough investigation of the aquatic system, pool water chemistry, mechanical system, and indoor air quality due to persistent air-quality issues. This investigation included consultations with engineers, water chemistry experts, and other aquatics facilities. Several actions were taken, including:

  • Maximizing fresh air intake;
  • Replacing damaged mechanical equipment;
  • Water chemistry adjustments; and
  • Testing another product for our secondary disinfectant system instead of the UV system in the hot tub. 

Following these corrective actions, testing confirmed that air quality was within guideline standards. We were confident that issues were resolved and reopened the lap and leisure pools and steam room on Jan. 28 with daily partial closures. The re-opening was successful. The facility remained open to guests and members without issue, until the opening of the hot tub on Feb. 4. On Feb. 7, the Aquatics Centre closed again until further notice due to poor air quality. 

Next Steps

Since our data indicate that the rest of our systems are operating normally, we are confident that the remaining variable to adjust is water chemistry in the hot tub. We are working closely with pool chemistry experts and are taking an adaptive management approach to resolve this issue.

We will be conducting a series of air quality tests to ensure the air quality in the Aquatics Centre continues to exceed all measurable standards. We will have an update about the status of the hot tub in the coming weeks once we have more data available. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there an issue with air quality? 
Test results indicated chloramine levels exceeded standard guidelines. Based on the testing and consultations with experts, we concluded that both the air system and water chemistry caused the issue. Pool environments are complex systems that include many variables that are in a fine balance. Sometimes that balance is disrupted and can result in poor air quality. For more information on why chloramines are a common issue in pool environments, you can read more about it here. 
What corrective actions did you take to address this issue? 
We conducted a thorough investigation of the aquatic system, pool water chemistry, mechanical system, and indoor air quality due to persistent air-quality issues. This investigation included consultations with engineers, water chemistry experts, and other aquatics facilities. Several actions were taken, including maximizing fresh air intake; replacing damaged mechanical equipment; water chemistry adjustments; and testing another product for our secondary disinfectant system instead of the UV system in the hot tub. Comprehensive testing confirmed that the air system is now running normally. We are confident that the remaining variable to adjust is water chemistry in the hot tub. We are working closely with pool chemistry experts and are taking an adaptive management approach to resolve this issue. 
When will the hot tub re-open? 
The hot tub remains closed until future notice as part of the Town of Canmore's response to coronavirus. Thank you for your on-going patience and understanding. 
What else can I do at Elevation Place?
If the Aquatics Centre is experiencing full or partial closures, guests and members can still enjoy the many world-class amenities of Elevation Place. Splash members can put their membership on hold for the duration of the closure or enjoy access to the fitness facilities. Go Beyond members can put their membership on hold for the duration of the closure or access fitness spaces, the climbing gym, 21 weekly core classes, and all drop-in skate activities. For questions about your membership, please visit the Customer Experience desk. Check the Elevation Place Schedule for hours of operation and program information.  
How is the Town of Canmore compensating members? 
Rebates are now available to current Go Beyond and Splash Memberships to compensate for the unprecedented closure of the Aquatics Centre at Elevation Place from Jan. 14 to 24 and Feb. 7 to 13, 2020 (some restrictions apply). Rebates will be issued only upon request. Click here to apply for a rebate before April 30, 2020.
Hasn't Elevation Place been open for years? Why are we seeing all these issues now? 
Since Elevation Place opened in 2013, we have experienced periodic short closures to address emergent repairs, outside of our regular annual closures for proactive maintenance. Due to recent improvements in air quality tests, it is possible that the Aquatics Centre could have had air quality issues that went under-reported since the opening of the facility.  Over time the issues have worsened, especially in cold weather, and staff awareness of the issue has increased which has improved internal reporting. We hope that recent corrective actions resolve this issue for the long-term. 
Why is the Aquatics Centre always closed?
Elevation Place is a world-class facility that welcomes thousands of visitors each year and requires regular maintenance to keep it working at peak performance. As a proactive measure, we close the facility annually in September for two to three weeks to conduct repairs. We also periodically close for swim competitions to support our local athletes. Finally, on rare occasions, we have closed due to poor air quality caused by mechanical failures in our heat/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system or by external pollutants including, smoke from forest fires. Up until this recent issue, most closures have been limited to one or two days at a time.
Is the air in Elevation Place safe?
Yes. There are no issues with the remainder of the Elevation Place facility. The air system of the Aquatics Centre is separate from the rest of the Elevation Place facility. The library, atrium, climbing gym, fitness rooms, and classrooms are safe for safe and visitors and remain open for guests. Please check the Elevation Place schedule for hours of operation and program information. 
There are many pools that do not have this problem. What is unique about our pool? 
Pool environments are complex systems that include many variables that are in a fine balance. Sometimes that balance is disrupted and can result in poor air quality.  These challenges are not unique to Elevation Place - many other facilities across Canada and worldwide also struggle with on-going issues with air and water quality. 

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