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Colwood’s dream of an outdoor pool still a possibility

If an outdoor pool comes to the area, it will take at least five years
West Shore remains hopeful in getting an outdoor pool.

The first promise of a hot summer has finally arrived and has renewed thoughts of the proposal for a new outdoor pool for the West Shore.

The proposal, floated at Colwood council in the fall 2023 raised hopes that a new facility might become a reality. At the time, the West Shore Rotary Club told council that it would work with other service clubs to raise the estimated $12 million that would be needed to construct the pool, but it needed council’s blessing to conduct a feasibility study to build the facility, probably in the Royal Bay area.

Council subsequently voted to conduct that study, raising hopes that the project would progress.

“Like most things of value, it’s going slowly,” said Coun. Dean Jantzen. “We’re in the process of getting approval in principle from the other West Shore communities (View Royal, Langford, Metchosin and Highlands), making sure that it’s an idea that they support.”

Jantzen said that Colwood is also putting together some preliminary cost estimates for the proposed facility.

The Rotary Club, which first proposed the idea, is a volunteer organization so one must understand that the process may take some time, Jantzen said.

“I would anticipate that it will take at least five years before we see a pool built,” Jantzen said. “Nobody has said no, but it’s a matter of who will bear the cost.”

Jantzen said that the model that is currently being investigated would have the initial construction costs covered through external sources of funding (perhaps from other levels of government) and the establishment of an endowment fund to cover the operating costs of the pool.

In 2023, when the project was first proposed, the annual operating costs were estimated at $150,000 with a possible cost recovery (through user fees) of somewhere between 23 per cent and as high as 59 per cent.

Outdoor pools have become a popular option in B.C. due, in part, to the long operating season made possible by the province’s mild climate. Although only a handful exist on Vancouver Island, dozens of such pools are popular spots for a cooling dip on the mainland. For example, after the Co-op Out Door Experience opened in Abbotsford in 2018, it immediately became a go to location for both local residents and visitors alike.

An outdoor pool facility in Colwood could experience similar success, said Jantzen, should it be successfully built.

“I’m a patient man,” said Jantzen. "The dream isn’t dead, but it is following the path that these projects always seem to take.”