Civic complex on backup power up to three months; aquatic center may reopen Wednesday

The Cornwall Aquatic Center and Cornwall Civic Complex on Sunday, May 12, 2019. City officials says the civic complex is back in business after a massive power outage Friday. The aquatic center may reopen on Wednesday after repairs are made. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – A large generator powering the Cornwall Civic Complex and Cornwall Aquatic Center will likely be in place running 24-7 for up to three months.

As Cornwall Newswatch first told you, the building was crippled Friday by a massive power outage that happened after a transformer fire.

City council heard Monday night that it was actually the feeder line between the transformer and the building that failed and caught fire.

The transformer is owned by Cornwall Electric but the feed between it and the building, which is the responsibility of the city, failed. “It’s very likely that it’s our responsibility. However, we’re working with our insurance company to make sure what can be covered will be covered,” Recreation General Manager Mark Boileau told council Monday night.

Boileau added that the cost of the generator rental will also be added to the claim but it will be up to the insurance company to determine whether it will be covered.

“The repair to the transformer, the part that is required, is likely going to take 8-12 weeks to acquire,” CAO Maureen Adams explained.

Adams said staff are still doing a review of “the pool and the conditions inside.”

Boileau said the civic complex building is operating normally as of Monday afternoon and the Aquatic Center is “probably the only” part of the building not in operation. A company is in making mechanical repairs to the pool.

“The pool is in very good condition. The safest thing for us to do was to let people know that the pool will not be open tomorrow (Tuesday) but expectations it will be corrected tomorrow,” Boileau said.

“A full correction (to the power) will take weeks,” he added.

The city got lucky as the Ed Lumley Arena ice system, which is the building’s biggest electrical load, was already scheduled to end Monday.

City won’t need to drain and refill pool

Initial fears that the aquatic center pool would need a costly drain and refill have not materialized. In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Boileau said the pool won’t need to be drained.

“Oh no. From what I understand, the water quality is perfect. There are no issues with the water in any of the pools. We expect the pool is ready to go. We really just have a little bit more mechanical work in the building resulting, it would appear, from the electrical failure that took place,” Boileau said.

As for events affected over the weekend, Boileau said they lost a wedding reception to another location but they were able to “largely accommodate” a men’s hockey tournament at the Benson Center.