The installation of two new whirlpools at the Nicola Valley Aquatic Centre will cost more than originally anticipated.

During a committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 28, council approved an additional $46,500 from capital reserves to go towards the upgrade originally scheduled for the aquatic centre’s 2011 fall shut down.

Council first approved costs for the two commercial grade whirlpools from the City of Merritt’s 2011 budget, however engineers discovered unforeseen problems during the demolition phase that drove up the total cost of the project, said Leisure Services Manager Larry Plotnikoff in a report to council.

“The old whirlpool units and all associated piping were completely encased in reinforced concrete which does not allow for any access whatsoever for repairs or inspection,” said Plotnikoff. “The encased whirlpool units and the associated piping, electrical connections and drainage system has resulted in a situation whereby the structural, piping and drainage system has to be rebuilt, instead of only requiring the hardware to simply be changed out.”

The city had also experienced delays in the permitting process with Interior Health Authority, but Plotnikoff told council the whirlpool project would now be in a position to continue with the approval of additional funding.

The leisure services manager’s report indicated that the revised total cost estimate for the project was $130,000, with $48,500 coming from the original whirlpool budget and $81,500 coming from additional costs. Of these additional costs $35,000 will carry over from 2011 capital budget and $46,500 will come from capital reserves in order to complete the project.

During the meeting Councillor Clara Norgaard asked Plotnikoff if there would be a warranty on the new hot tubs. He told her the two new units have a lifetime warranty but the concrete work would be guaranteed for only one year.

None of the councillors expressed any opposition to approving the funds.

“We knew we might be looking at something like this when we began the project,” said Councillor Mike Goetz.

The city’s other options as outlined in the report would have been to do nothing and leave the aquatic centre without a whirlpool feature, or to wait until additional funding became available, which might take several years.