A federal-provincial grant covering $6 million of the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre will be offered to other municipalities after the City of Victoria couldn’t meet required deadlines. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

A federal-provincial grant covering $6 million of the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre will be offered to other municipalities after the City of Victoria couldn’t meet required deadlines. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria to lose $6 million in funding for new Crystal Pool

No extension for March 31 gas tax grant deadline

The City of Victoria will lose $6 million in federal-provincial funding for the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre.

In a report put forward by Thomas Soullierre, director of parks, recreation and facilities, council was told the $6 million in gas tax grants presented by the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) will not be subject to an extension, and that other projects must be considered for the funding.

The grant was originally awarded to the City in February 2018 under the condition that all other funding for the $69.4 million project be acquired by March 31, 2019.

In November 2018 council approved a substantial change to the project by directing staff to consider an entirely different site for the pool, following pressure from the North Park Neighborhood Association and the Victoria Downtown Resident’s Association. Both associations felt there had not been enough public consultation on the pool, and feared for the loss of greenspace by using most of Central Park. Instead, the groups advocated for the use of the parking lot behind the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena.

READ MORE: Victoria council pauses Crystal Pool project to consider new site

In a November interview with Black Press, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps explained why council agreed with the neighbourhood associations at the time.

“What tipped the balance for me is even if we get some federal and some provincial funding, we’d have to hold a referendum and we could have the North Park residents forming the ‘no’ side,” Helps said. “We all know what it’s like to do a large infrastructural project that the public doesn’t support, like the Johnson Street Bridge, and I don’t want to do that again.”

READ MORE: Victoria Curling Club, arena parking lot considered for new Crystal Pool location

Helps acknowledged that pushing the project would escalate the price above the original budget, while Soulliere pointed out that due to a competitive construction market, costs could escalate as much as $500,000 per month after February 2019.

ALSO READ: Victoria Curling Club wants to be part of new Crystal Pool Facility after lease renewal ends

In November, city staff were instructed to write to both the UBCM, as well as the Canadian Tire Jump Start Program, which granted the City $1 million, to ask for an extension. So far, the UBCM wrote back to deny the extension.

“Staff have met with representatives of UBCM recently and understand that the funding program received hundreds of applications from jurisdictions across B.C. for support well-beyond the available funds,” the report reads. “Staff recommend communicating in writing to UBCM, to acknowledge this situation in advance of the March 31 deadline, and allow UBCM to consider awarding this funding to other deserving projects in the province.”

The gas tax grant is a 10-year plan, and the City can reapply for partial funding later on.

Soulliere’s report will be officially presented to the committee of the whole on Thursday.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

City of Victoria

Just Posted

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read