The City of Victoria has released their newest plans for the new Crystal Pool facility. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS Thomas Soulliere, director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities at the City of Victoria, points out some of the highlights of the newest designs for Crystal Pool. Nicole Crescenzi VICTORIA NEWS

Plans rejigged for new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre

Visitors to open house see plans for fitness facility, main pool with movable floor

The newest designs for the upcoming Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre show a curved building shaped to accommodate old growth trees, a re-sized pool and a full gymnasium.

These were some of the biggest changes to the original plans for the new facility that were on display at a pair of public open houses Tuesday at the Crystal Garden.

“We’ve been able to take a lot of input over the last couple years and adjust the designs,” said Thomas Soulliere, director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities for the City of Victoria. “Now we’re just asking for feedback on these updates.”

RELATED: Gas tax cash helps Victoria reach funding threshold for Crystal Pool

The entrance to the building is effectively in the middle of Central Park and opens into a large lobby, where people will find the pools and change rooms on the first floor.

The main pool was made a little narrower from previous designs, but features an eight-lane, 50-metre pool with a movable floor on one end. “That will allow us some flexibility when it comes to programming opportunities,” Soulliere noted.

There will also be leisure and therapy pools, including a smaller pool with a 25-metre lane with a beach entry, and a lazy river designed to serve therapeutic needs and to act as a play space for children. Two hot pools will be near the lazy river, one catering to families and the other to adults.

Next to the pool are a large universal change room with private changing areas, and two smaller men’s and women’s change rooms.

A design of the first floor of the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre (City of Victoria)

A significant change from earlier plans includes large multipurpose areas and a fitness facility on the second floor, with viewing decks for the pool area below and externally overlooking the park.

The new structure will be built at Pembroke and Quadra streets, where currently basketball and tennis courts sit, but Soulliere said the City has future plans to redesign the surrounding park area.

“The park renewal plan is a critical next step in terms of the evolution of this initiative,” he said. “We’ve focused on the building first to make sure we have everything we needed first to apply for those major funding opportunities … but the next piece is working with the community for a park development plan.”

Mayor Lisa Helps had brought forward an idea to investigate the feasibility of putting affordable housing atop a parking lot for the new pool facility, but Soulliere said council has put that idea on pause until the final project reports for the new pool are submitted.

RELATED: Affordable housing opportunity connected to new Crystal Pool project

Even with the changes, staff are still working with the $69 million budget, Soulliere said. He noted that those funds include new construction and demolition costs only, not the design and building of new park amenities.

The City is now waiting for the federal-provincial grant program to open up later this year, which Soulliere said meant decisions would likely be made in early 2019. “We’ll be ready as soon as they are in terms of starting construction. We are very much on schedule right now.”

Once shovels hit the ground, construction is estimated to take two years, with the first swim anticipated sometime in 2021.

For more information visit victoria.ca.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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Overhead drawing shows the first floor of the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre Courtesy City of Victoria

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