The saga of Crystal Pool continues.
At a meeting on January 9th, 2020, Victoria City Council decided against spending $750,000 on a survey to decide if Crystal Pool was worth renovating.
The pool, Council had decided, was definitely moving.
Next, they commissioned a report (released on January 30th) that detailed six potential new sites for the recreation centre. Most of the new locations suggested were near the existing facility, in various parking lots and fields.
However, after reviewing that report at a Council meeting on February 6th, 2020, the Victoria City Council are now instructing staff to look at more sites in addition to the six already assessed.
There is no information about which sites will be considered, other than that they will be located in the North Park or Hillside Quadra areas.
“Because this involves potential land acquisitions, the City is not able to provide more information publicly until staff complete their work,” the City said in a statement.
“Council is committed to replacing the facility and ensuring that the community has access to a new health and wellness facility that responds to the diverse needs of the public,” the statement also said.
“Once a preferred site has been identified, staff will develop an updated scope, timeline, and budget to complete the next phase of work.”
Timeline of Crystal Pool saga:
- April/May 2016: Stakeholder and public consultation begins regarding Crystal Pool.
- October 2016: A feasibility study is conducted to illuminate a path forward for Crystal Pool. After seeing the report, the City Council unanimously decided to replace, rather than refurbish, the pool.
- February 2017: Victoria City Council votes to replace Crystal Pool. The project is expected to cost up to $70 million.
- June/July 2017: City staff complete environmental reports regarding building a new pool on the southwest corner of Central Park. A geotechnical report says the site is “generally favourable” for construction.
- February through October 2018: Public consultation, through open houses and online surveys, continues.
- October 2018: The North Park Neighbourhood Association and Downtown Victoria Residents Association tell the city they would prefer the new pool to sit on a Quadra Street parking lot, rather than in Central Park. Both associations are worried about the lack of green space.
- November 2018: After analyzing their options, the City Council decides to press ahead with the Central Park location. The City does say it will consider the parking lot for social housing or a community centre. They will also consider the Save-On-Foods Arena parking lot, too.
- February 2019: Because of the time spent considering other locations, the city loses out on $6 million in federal Gas Tax funds.
- April/May 2019: Discussions with RG Properties, the company which owns the Save-On-Foods Arena and attached parking lot, collapse. Central Park Middle School’s fields are offered as a suggestion for the new site.
- June 2019: The City starts from scratch, due to concerns about losing green space. Council directs staff to revisit the objectives, scope, and schedule of the Crystal Pool project.
- December 2019: Mayor Lisa Helps says the continuation of the project requires a public referendum.
- January 2020: City staff request another $725,000 to re-plan the project. (The city has spent $2.2 million on designs for the new pool so far. City Council rejects the request and tells staff to find new sites for moving the pool.
- February 2020: After reviewing the assessment of six sites, City Council tells staff to move forward and consider more sites.