Crystal Pool referendum on borrowing up to $169M receives green light

Crystal Pool referendum on borrowing up to $169M receives green light
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File photo of the existing Crystal Pool.

Victoria council is making yet another attempt to replace the aging Crystal Pool, approving a referendum to hear from voters.

A referendum will be held in early 2025, asking Victoria residents whether they would like the city to borrow up to $169 million to replace the pool, and whether they would like the pool built in north or south Central Park.

An information page on the city’s website says information on where, when and how to vote in the referendum will be shared in fall 2024.

On top of the $169 million to be borrowed, the city plans to use $47 million from the reserve funds to pay for the pool.

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Aerial-view map of Central Park showing two possible locations for the new facility; North in the northwest corners and South in the southwest corner.

North Central Park

If the replacement pool is built in the north, Crystal Pool will be closed for the duration of the project as the new facility will sit in the footprint of the current one.

This option also comes with a lower borrowing cost of $162.2 million and has a shorter timeline to complete.

It would come with an average of $232 increase in property taxes per household for 20 years.

It would also reduce the required excavation and tree loss.

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Aerial-view map of Central Park showing site layout for North option including surface and underground parking, bike parking and location of playground and sports courts.

South Central Park

The south option would require borrowing $168.9 million and has a longer construction schedule.

Property taxes would raise on average $240 per household over 20 years.

Trees would need to be removed, and several others would be at significant risk of damage due to the construction.

If this option is chosen, the current pool may be able to remain open, but the nearby excavation and blasting may cause a catastrophic failure, resulting in the permanent closure before construction is complete.

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Aerial-view map of Central Park showing site layout for South option including surface and underground parking, bike parking and location of playground and sports courts.

Facility amenities

Whichever option is chosen, Victoria has plans to include the same amenities for the new facility.

The plan calls for a 50 metre pool with a moveable bulkhead; leisure pool with 25 metre warm-up lanes, a shallow play area and a lazy river; two hot pools at different temperatures; sauna and steam rooms; a large fitness studio; multi-purpose rooms; and community gathering spaces.

Additionally, regardless of which spot is chosen, a portion of the green space in Central Park would be used as a construction staging area, a new traffic signal will be installed at Quadra and Princess and a new multi-use pathway will be built through the park connecting to Vancouver at Princess.

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Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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