Crystal Pool on Quadra Street. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria council directs staff to reexamine original Crystal Pool designs at previously-explored locations

Council rejected a request for $725,000 for a new feasibility study

Victoria council directed staff to report back on all existing potential sites for the new Crystal Pool facility before any more decisions are made moving forward.

In a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, staff presented a report at the request of council laying out how much a feasibility study would cost for the new pool, landing on a grand total of $725,000.

READ MORE: Victoria staff request $725,000 to plan for new Crystal Pool facility

Council rejected the idea, opting instead to have staff gather all existing information about previously-examined sites, with a special emphasis on the vacant Royal Athletic Park parking lot at 940 Caledonia Ave.

One of the previously-explored locations, the field next to Central Middle School, is off the table since it doesn’t meet the geographic requirements of being in the Hillside/North Park neighbourhoods.

Council hopes to see original designs of the new pool, which had initially been placed in the south-west corner of Central Park, examined at these alternative locations.

Plans were delayed last year when council heard from the North Park Neighbourhood Association (NPNA) asking for more greenspace and the use of an equity lens when examining community needs.

In exploring alternative options, council realized that the requested amenities, including the inclusive pool, affordable housing, childcare space and a community centre could not all come together in the same space.

ALSO READ: Victoria city staff start from square one on Crystal Pool project

“There are other parcels of land where the city can pursue those opportunities for non-recreational amenities,” said Coun. Ben Isitt.

“We can have a clear division of labour with respect to various amenities. We can delegate parks and recreation staff to pursue the recreation amenities as originally contemplated in the project deign and direct our real estate staff and our planning staff and others to pursue the non-recreational amenities that council has identified.”

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps agreed that dividing the goals would help move the project forward.

“Just because in June 2019 we said all of those things must be part of one project, I don’t think we need to hold fast to that,” Helps said, adding that continuing to drag out discussions puts a great risk to the city of having no pool facility at all.

City staff had told council that keeping the present and ailing pool running for 10 more years would cost upwards of $13 million.

ALSO READ: Crystal Pool facility requires referendum to move forward, says Victoria mayor

“There is a great deal of risk and we have a responsibility,” Helps said. “It is our responsibility, not the staff, the public or groups advocating for or against one position. It’s up to us to build a new swimming pool before the old one has to be closed down or before we dump a tonne of money into the old one.”

Staff are set to provide the compiled site selection reports, including previously unreleased parking analysis studies, to council on Feb. 6.

Council determined that due to timeline restrictions, any upcoming pool referendum would not be included in the upcoming by-election in the spring.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Most Read