Within six weeks nothing will remain of the 30-year old Big Hill Pool, but the land its located on will remain designated for public service.

Preliminary work is scheduled to begin on its demolition this week, the town announced yesterday, and the price has town officials smiling. Costs were budgeted at $740,000 but the contract came in at $264,000, just 36 per cent of what was anticipated.

Town officials say the lower cost was due to the ability of the selected contractor to utilize the old material and divert 98 per cent of the material from the landfill.

Both the removal of the building and especially the high cost of demolition arose as issues during the election and in the aftermath it was one of the first things Mayor Jeff Genung addressed with administration.

He said even though the decision had already been approved by the previous council, administration did allow the new council to weigh in before the tender was awarded. Changes in building standards and codes and the impact of being subjected to moisture for 30 years were among the chief concerns of trying to repurpose it.

"Administration took the time in the 30 days that the tender period gave them to pick a contractor for demolition and that allowed this current council to look at that same decision and we agreed it wasn't worth salvaging," says Genung.

"It would have been nice if we could have saved it, but looking at the some of the pictures and some of the information from administration it was pretty clear it would not be worth retrofitting. We would still be left with a 30 year old building that would need work," says Genung.

Of course, the much lower price tag of tearing it down also impacted the conversation.

"Everybody was talking about the $740,000 budget during the election and that was what was alarming, but now that it's come in as a contract for $264,000 it's no-brainer."

Genung remains committed to keeping the land for public use and looks forward to input from the public on how it should be utilized.

"We have a lot of work to do. I heard loud and clear during the election that the site is very dear to Cochranite and it should remain as Cochrane-owned land."

"This is a great opportunity for one of those task forces I campaigned on," says Genung.

In the meantime, the site will be made safe, be used for additional parking and stay that way until a project is determined, designed and built.

Whatever is decided upon, construction is likely a few years down the road.

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