The future of Crystal Pool will be decided in 2012, but one thing is for certain: residents won’t lose their only municipally owned swimming facility.
According to a new analysis, the pool needs to be upgraded, replaced or decommissioned.
Decommissioning is not an option, said Mayor Dean Fortin. “The pool needs to continue in some form.”
In July, consultants confirmed what the city already knew: the pool is at the end of its useful life. A report, by CEI Architecture Planning Interiors, fleshed out this knowledge with a detailed list of challenges.
The 40-year old facility has already outlived its life expectancy by almost double, due in part, to good maintenance by city staff.
However, all of its major systems including the pool, electrical, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire alarms need to be replaced.
The facility has no seismic upgrades, and the space it provides for programming and fitness is inadequate. It operates at a loss of $1.2 million per year, which includes $160,000 in energy costs. It is the highest greenhouse gas-producing facility in the city.
“If the facility is to continue operating in its present condition and/or extend its lifespan, the City of Victoria is assuming risk,” according to the report.
There are also some safety concerns, requiring action soon. Pieces of concrete on the walls next to the tot’s pool could break loose and fall. The pool’s drain cover is part of the largest product recall in industry history, due to its potential to entrap fingers.
These safety issues are a concern for Coun. Philippe Lucas, whose daughter starts ballet there this month, and swimming lessons there in the new year.
“I don’t think we have the luxury of time on this,” he said.
Parks director Kate Friars assured a number of these items will be addressed during the annual pool maintenance closure in December.
Council referred the larger discussion of Crystal Pool’s replacement or rehabilitation to early 2012. At this time, it will discuss and prioritize all of the city’s infrastructure needs that have no allocated funding, such as a new library.
While Coun. Geoff Young argued it’s too early to foreclose any options, such as decommissioning the pool, council disagreed. It passed a motion which secures the pool’s future, regardless of other budgetary concerns and priorities.