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How the pool industry came together to help a special woman

Deck

Two thirds of the pool’s perimeter has a traditional concrete deck, with a broom-swept finish for traction to make it safer for Tyhme’s wheelchair and other bathers. The remaining deck area is 457 mm (18 in.) lower to accommodate the step entry and ledge, which runs along one side of the pool to allow Tyhme to lift herself out of the water, where she can rest and sunbathe on the smooth concrete. Large Muskoka rocks were placed as steps at either end of the lower deck.

The air-entrained concrete (intentionally creating tiny air bubbles to increase the hardened concrete’s durability) deck is reinforced with steel mesh; fibremesh was also included in the mix. The outside perimeter of the deck is 178 mm (7 in.) thick with a 12.7-mm (0.5-in.) rebar rod, creating a ‘grade beam.’ This helps keep the concrete from separating and/or heaving to different elevations. The rest of the upper level deck concrete is 101 mm (4 in.) thick. Reverse A-frames were also included as part of the deck support system, with sonotubes in selected areas as well.

The lower deck is the same general design as the upper deck. It is supported off the pool walls by shorter reverse A-frames. It also has steel mesh, fibremesh and rebar, but it is 152 mm (6 in.) thick throughout. When it was poured, it flowed into the gussets of the steel walls. Then the stone wall, supporting the concrete ledge, was positioned directly on top of the reverse A-frames.

Block wall

Allan Block Junior (retaining wall system) was used to support the ledge concrete. Allan Block is usually dry-stacked and each successive course steps back from the first. In this application, a vertical wall was desired, without the stepping. The blocks were mortared together and their keys filled with concrete; short rebar rods were inserted into the keys to bond the courses together. When the ledge was poured, rebar rods spanned from the Allan Block keys to the top of the pool’s steel walls.

Ramps

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Ramping provides Tyhme with full access around the pool- one ramp leads from the porch lift to the pool area, while another leads from the pool sitting area down to ‘Tyhme’s side’ of the pool steps.

Ramping was required to allow Tyhme full access around the pool, all of which was kept to 1:12 slope. One ramp leads from the porch lift to the pool area, while another leads from the pool sitting area down to ‘Tyhme’s side’ of the pool steps. River rock was placed between these two levels to keep water from the pool-level deck from flowing across the lower ramp.

Access

A concrete walkway to the front of the house was also poured. Tyhme’s house elevator can let her off at the garage, allowing her to wheel around to the pool directly from her apartment. If she chooses to go through the main part of the house, onto the rear deck, a porch lift can lower her wheelchair to pool level.

Fence

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There is a house immediately across the canal, so a small privacy pergola was built to allow Tyhme to be able to relax or entertain friends.

The fence along the property line beside the pool was built with a wood privacy design for 80 per cent of its length, before switching to black chain-link. This provided not only privacy, but also a windbreak. The chain link allowed for a continued view of the natural wildlife setting surrounding the yard (the house backs onto a small manmade canal). There is a house immediately across the canal, so a small privacy pergola was built to allow Tyhme to be able to relax or entertain friends.

Managing maintenance

All of the pool’s mechanical equipment is on a concrete pad directly alongside the walkway beside the garage. A dual-thermostat gas heater beside the concrete walkway allows Tyhme to easily increase the temperature when she is going to swim (it is otherwise maintained at a lower setting). An ultraviolet (UV) water treatment system reduces chemical requirements; the automatic chemical feeder is also handily located beside the concrete walkway. The equipment was selected and positioned so Tyhme can operate it easily from her chair. A robotic cleaner allows her to look after the cleaning herself.

For the winter, a safety cover was installed. The anchors for the cover are in their usual location at the upper deck area. By the steps and sun ledge, the anchors are in the side of the block wall, keeping the ledge and entry area perfectly smooth.

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