Competitive pool still leaking at Bell Aliant Centre at UPEI

Harrison Nicholson

Officials with the Bell Aliant Centre on the UPEI campus in Charlottetown thought they had finally fixed a mysterious leak in the centre’s competitive pool, but after putting some water back in Wednesday, they found the problem persists.

The aquatics facility closed in March because of the pandemic, and all three pools — toddler, leisure and competitive — were emptied for deep cleaning and painting.

They were refilled in August in anticipation of reopening after Labour Day, but staff noticed the water level dropping in the larger competitive pool, and they’ve been trying to find the source of the problem ever since.

“We’ve drained the pool a gazillion times,” said Sue Fraser, the centre’s general manager. “Every time we’re testing an area, we have to fill it to that point and then wait. That’s what’s taking all the time.”

‘Not an easy feat’
Fraser said in the last couple of weeks they determined the leak was not plumbing related, but rather a structural issue.

“When you’re dealing with concrete, finding structural issues is not an easy feat,” Fraser said.

This week, she was very optimistic the leak had been fixed — they had pulled up tile along the seam where the floor slope meets the deep end and found wet spots. They laid down plastic membrane, let it cure, then put water in the pool Wednesday morning. But the water level dropped again.

“The good news in all of this is that we have isolated this to a very specific section of the pool floor, so it’s not a breach of the entire pool floor,” Fraser said.

They have now called in a New Brunswick company that will scan the pool’s concrete floor with special equipment. If they discover voids or spaces under the concrete, a crew will have to drill holes and fill the voids. That work will also involve removing all the tile and putting a plastic membrane over the entire deep end, Fraser said.

She does not know when the company may be able to come to scan for the leak, but she is hoping within the next few days.

Once the fixes are made, it will likely take a few weeks to install the plastic membrane and re-tile the pool.

About the Bell Aliant Centre
The Bell Aliant Centre is Charlottetown and surrounding area’s most comprehensive recreation facility. Located on the campus of the University of Prince Edward Island, and governed by a board represented by the City of Charlottetown, UPEI, and Town of Stratford. Complete with an Aquatics facility and home of MacLauchlan Arena.

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