After four months and $200,000, the new, improved Takhini Hot Springs is open for business.
The opening comes five weeks after the hoped-for starting date of June 1.
“Renovations always take longer than you think,” said company vice-president Tom Parlee.
Crumbling pool tiles have been replaced by a Fiberglas covering, which “looks and feels good and will wear well,” said Parlee in a news release.
Change rooms have been completely rebuilt and equipped with new tiling, plumbing and showers. For previous patrons frustrated with lukewarm showers at Takhini, the new showers are guaranteed to be hot.
The old wooden fence that once surrounded the pool has been replaced by wavy sheets of clear plastic, offering unobstructed views of the mountains beyond.
The new fence also grants swimmers an excellent vantage point to watch climbers as they scamper up the Equinox Rox climbing wall and zip-line.
“It’s much more open. Before, you felt closed in,” said one mid-afternoon bather.
Staid concrete pathways have been replaced with wooden boardwalks that surround the perimeter of the pool.
“Boardwalks everywhere,” said Parlee.
It’s all part of new strategic direction for the hot springs.
With the opening of the Canada Games centre in 2007, the hot spring’s role as a premier Whitehorse swimming hole was supplanted.
“I’ve spoken with many housewives and so on that remember bringing their young children out to the hot springs because it was the only opportunity to swim,” said Parlee.
Now, Takhini is moving beyond the simple novelty of a place to get wet, and is looking to solidify its position as an important health destination.
“We want to work towards health and recreation … by offering things like massage, yoga and different products,” said Parlee.
For years, renovation plans at Takhini had been blocked by disagreements among the hot spring’s 45 original shareholders.
After a series of buyouts, the original 45 shareholders had been reduced to four families composing about 10 people — leaving the owners with greater flexibility to move forward with expansion plans.
The pool renovation is the first step in a comprehensive revamp of the Takhini facility that will include massage services, a high quality spa, a geo thermal interpretive centre, and a sauna on the existing pool courtyard.
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