‘Didn’t make this decision lightly’: UVic closing McKinnon pool after 50 years

‘Didn’t make this decision lightly’: UVic closing McKinnon pool after 50 years
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The University of Victoria is closing its McKinnon pool facility within a matter of months.

The school says the pool, which is more than 50 years old, is past the end of its “natural lifecycle” and that it would cost an estimated $1.5 million to complete necessary upgrades.

The pool, which is home to UVic’s varsity swim program and the private Pacific Coast Swimming club, will close by Sept. 15 of this year “at the latest,” the school announced Tuesday.

“McKinnon pool has been a part of campus life for decades and we didn’t make this decision lightly,” said Nicole Greengoe, executive director of Wellness, Recreation and Athletics at UVic.

“While the pool is primarily used by varsity, PCS and some student and alumni clubs, it has low recreational use by students, faculty and staff,” she said. “The university has to balance the significant cost of upgrading and maintaining the facility alongside investments in infrastructure and programming that benefit the entire campus community.”

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The UVic varsity swim program and Pacific Coast Swimming will move to local municipal pools. Meanwhile, the school says it will try to help relocate student aquatic clubs “where possible.”

It recommends that recreational swimmers use the pools at nearby rec centres, like the ones in Gordon Head and Oak Bay.

The school says it’s still looking at ways to best use the McKinnon pool space moving forward. In the meantime, people will still be able to use the washrooms, showers and change rooms in the building – which is also home to a 2,500-seat triple gymnasium and the Uvic Sports Hall of Fame.

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UVic says the McKinnon pool has helped train nine Olympians and Paralympians, earning two gold medals, three silver medals and four bronze medals between them.

“Although the pool has reached the end of its lifecycle, its legacy will live on through the stories and experiences of those who have had a long relationship with this facility and who have enjoyed the pool, trained and excelled here,” said Greengoe.

UVic says updates on the closure of the pool can be found on its website.

Last year, the school announced it would be redeveloping its Ian Stewart Complex into housing.

The news left some community members concerned, since the complex is home to an ice rink, which are in high demand in the region.

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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