Project Description

Iqaluit Aquatic Centre

With the impending closure of its existing pool, Nunavut’s capital city of Iqaluit needed a new and improved, energy-efficient and environmentally responsible recreational facility. The fundamental vision for the Iqaluit Aquatic Centre was to create a universally accessible space while promoting healthy and active living and providing a socially inviting hub for Iqaluit’s recreational culture. Stantec Architecture Ltd. was awarded the project and retained AME Group as mechanical consultant due to our firm’s success and specialist expertise in cost-efficient and environmentally friendly recreational facility design.

The new 37,000 sq.ft. Aquatic Centre features a 6-lane, 25-metre lap pool, a leisure/wading pool, two saunas, a whirlpool, multi-purpose room, elders room, public fitness centre and fitness studio. Located in a remote arctic community, the new Centre will have a socially positive impact on the City of Iqaluit, offering a year-round range of activities for families and people of all ages.

A major budget consideration for this project stemmed from the engineering challenge of building a heated pool in arctic conditions. Due to the intense cold climate, pools in Northern Canada necessitate elaborate cooling systems to prevent thousands of litres of heated water from melting the permafrost beneath. In the case of Iqaluit, this resulted in a facility supported by a pile foundation that allows air to circulate beneath the building and reduces its impact on the permafrost, while the pool tanks are situated above grade and within the structure of the building, thus avoiding the potential permafrost problem and sandwiching the community areas between the ground and the pool.

Iqaluit’s new aquatic centre incorporates state-of-the-art pool water treatment, humidification control, and HVAC systems designed for a northern environment. Enhanced mechanical systems at this facility include:

  • Variable speed pumping on filtration system to reduce pump energy requirements
  • Granular chemical treatment suitable for remote operation
  • UV disinfectant for trichloramine removal and reduction in chemical disinfectant use

Furthermore, the re-use and recycling of materials, the remediation of contaminated land used for the project, and a connection to Iqaluit’s waste-heat based district energy system, greatly reduces the Aquatic Centre’s energy footprint and its energy-efficient design will help reduce future environmental and economic costs.