Pool’s a priority

Re: “Outdoor pools tough to justify in Vancouver,” May 30

It is becoming tougher and tougher to justify not building outdoor pools in Vancouver.

Park board commissioner John Coupar’s motion passed on May 30 to expedite building new outdoor pools. Vancouver is deficient in outdoor pools, and this deficiency is within the elected park board’s mandate to address. The May 30 motion is a big step in the right direction.

The 2011 recommendation by Hugh Condon Marler Architects (HCMA) to only build outdoor pools next to indoor pools or community centres was never adopted into park board policy.

HCMA designed the Hillcrest aquatic facility. In 2012, Hillcrest’s operating costs far exceeded the architects’ projections. Regarding the $400,000 difference between Hillcrest’s revenues and costs, the Hillcrest manager said: “I don’t view it as a shortfall, but I look at it as an investment. That $400,000 is an investment in our community, for getting people to be active and healthy.”

Using Jasper’s logic that public facilities should not be built because they cost too much money to operate, we should immediately close all swimming pools, ice rinks, and virtually every other park facility before Park Board loses any more money!

In 2010, the Mount Pleasant Park Master Plan, including the outdoor pool replacement, became park board policy. This project can be expedited the moment funds are allocated.

Even more new pools are likely to be endorsed through the upcoming Aquatic Strategy. Jasper pleaded to the elected park board through the Courier, “This board should prioritize money from the next capital plan. Maybe it doesn’t happen in four years, but maybe it happens in five or six. If they do it smart, they can do it in a way that is fiscally responsible and better serves parts of the city such as South Vancouver and Marpole.”

It’s too bad that Vision did not “do it smart” during their seven years in office.

Margery Duda, Mount Pleasant Pool Committee, Vancouver

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