The entrance to the Port Hardy aquatic centre. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Port Hardy aquatic centre’s Dry-O-Tron is in need of fixing

Port Hardy council approved spending $8,000 from general surplus for repairs.

Port Hardy council has agreed to fund repairs for the aquatic centre’s Dry-O-Tron.

A report from Kam So, Director of Engineering & Operations for the District of Port Hardy, was sent to the Operational Services Committee, which noted that the Dry-O-Tron is a “pool dehumidifier air handling unit [that] was installed in the Port Hardy Aquatic Centre in 1984 in response to structural corrosion issues. In an August 2020 Stantec inspection report, it was noted that the outside air damper is heavily corroded and fixed shut with the actuator linkages removed. In the dehumidifier’s current configuration, the unit is only capable of operating in 100 per cent recirculation mode, but not ventilation.”

The report also stated additional deficiencies include “failing cabinet insulation, accumulation on the heating coils and corrosion on internal piping. When the compressor/refrigerant loop from internal corrosion fails, the unit will most likely result in the end of the unit’s life due to significant replacement costs and existing unit’s use of banned refrigerant.”

The Dry-O-Tron unit is installed above the staff room, and the seismic bracing for the unit is “inadequate and in a seismic event the unit will undergo substantial acceleration due to its elevation and high mass,” added the report.

Given the physical location of the unit, which is directly above where staff are a lot of the time, So noted the Dry-O-Tron presents a “substantial concern” and there is an estimated cost to repair the existing Dry-O-Tron for $13,000.

He recommended they use $8,000 in general surplus to fund the portion of the project that is over budget.

So’s report also listed numerous other reasons to spend the money:

1. The humidity within the pool area is a concern. Excess humidity within a building can cause respiratory issues, create mold, corrupt electrical components and damage wooden walls and ceilings.

2. The repairs to repair the Dry-O-Tron are a short-term fix to keep the pool operational until the new system is in place.

3. The repairs will further prevent any other systems from further deteriorating.

4. The long-term goal is to procure a secure fan room addition that the new pool dehumidifier can be built at grade level in the space between the existing Aquatic Centre and Ice Arena. The enclosure would consist of a lightweight metal structure approximately 20x20x10 feet on a concrete slab.

5. The delivery of the new dehumidifier was identified as an immediate repair item in the 2020 Stantec report. It is estimated that the procurement of the new fan room and dehumidifier requires time and grant funding for the engineering, procurement of new equipment, and construction and may take several years to complete.

6. To keep the pool operational, the recommissioning of the existing pool dehumidifier is necessary to return the system to its original design intent and ensure code compliance.

Port Hardy council approved spending $8,000 from general surplus towards the Dry-O-Tron to cover the overrun of the repair from general operations.

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North Island Gazette