Users of the sauna at the Rath-Eastlink Community Centre (RECC) will have to wait a while longer before once more feeling its warm embrace.
And for Middle Stewiacke users Horst Soehl and his wife Barbara, not having the sauna available means they have also stopped using the RECC’s pool.
“It’s a central part of going to the pool,” Soehl said, of elderly pool users like himself being able to properly warm up after exiting the pool.
“It’s very important, my wife is slightly handicapped,” he said. “Especially in the winter.”
However, it may be prolonged wait for Soehl and other sauna users.
“In a nutshell, it’s a pretty lengthy repair,” said general manager Matt Moore.
The sauna has been out of commission at the RECC for several months after the heating unit broke down.
The cost to replace the heater alone is about $15,000 Moore said. But during the assessment of the problem, it was also determined the three-metre ceiling is too high for optimum results and should be lowered to slightly more than two metres.
Moore said discussion has also been held about converting the sauna seating from its current bleacher style to bench style.
“We’re talking about totally upgrading the sauna,” he said.
And while having the sauna broken is a “tough pill to swallow,” Moore said, the reality is its repair is not the number-one priority at the facility right now, given it only attracted about 10 to 15 users per day.
The current priority, he said, is the locker/change room areas, which have become insufficient.
“We have some pretty significant repairs and changes to the locker rooms,” he said.
Moore added membership numbers have grown from about 1,400 to 3,000 over the past two years.
As well, with the Down Syndrome World Swimming Championships coming to the RECC this summer, there are tile and grouting repairs that will have to be made to the pool that are also taking priority over the sauna.
“We’re just sitting in the middle trying to make the best business decision,” he advises. “Be patient until we can turn our attention back to the sauna.”