After years of the project being stalled, work is once again underway for council to consider doing work to replace Crystal Pool in Victoria.
During the committee of the whole on Feb. 9, councillors voted unanimously in favour of a motion to revive the project, the work that has been done so far, a referendum on two questions for staff to identify other possible sites for the new pool, and to seek funding for the project from partner governments.
The pool was built in 1971 and rebuilding the pool has come before council numerous times in recent years.
“Crystal Pool was my first job when I moved to Victoria in 2002, and don’t take this as an insult, but it was a bit rundown back then, as well, and it’s become further so,” Coun. Matt Dell, who put the motion forward, said in the committee of the whole meeting. “In 2014, I participated in the election campaign focused on rebuilding Crystal Pool and that’s almost 10 years ago now.”
For the referendum proposed by Dell’s motion, it would ask two questions.
The Crystal Pool is coming back! Just now, council supported a plan to kick-start this important facility. As part of this plan, the city will hold a public referendum to decide:
1.The preferred location and features of the pool
2.The desire to borrow funds for the pool#yyj
— Matt Dell (@mattdellok) February 9, 2023
The first would be a binding question, meaning council would have to abide by the way people voted. It would ask whether the public was willing for the city to borrow funds to build a new recreation facility and aquatic centre.
The second question would be non-binding. It would ask the public’s opinion on where they would like it to be located and what features they would like to see included.
Coun. Jeremy Caradonna says he believes the project will have to go to a referendum because he believes the city will need to borrow at least $50-million even if it receives grants from the provincial and federal governments.
“It’s certainly a risk that it could fail and if the voters of Victoria don’t want a new pool and recreation facility, well then that’s their will and we can put our money elsewhere,” Caradonna said.
Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion at the committee of the whole, and the next step is for the motion to be voted on in council before staff begins work on the four points outlined.