Build the New Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre Now!

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Background:

Last Thursday, one of the two heaters at Crystal Pool broke, causing the pool water to cool - and cold water most seriously impacts people who are elderly, very young, or who have disabilities. These people are less able to regulate their body temperatures. 

This incident came only one month after a month-long pool closure, intended to fix many of the pool's aging equipment. 

The heater can be repaired. But it is one in a long line of issues that have been ongoing at Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre.

The fact is that the pool needs replacing. It needed replacing years ago, and every day that goes by brings us closer to the day that the pool breaks down for good. 

The 2015 Stantec Report highlighted that the current facility is at high risk of system failure on an unpredictable timeline. Should the current facility suddenly fail, with no plan in place for replacement, Council will be faced with an unpalatable situation, with no easy or fast solution.

Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre is a gathering place for our community. It is where seniors come together for aqua-size each morning. It is where people with disabilities create friendships and learn skills of healthy living. It is where  our most vulnerable citizens can come to enjoy recreation. 

When Crystal Pool was closed for the month of September, there was simply no place for all of these people to go. The current facility operates 22% over capacity - even when every other facility in the CRD is open.

This past summer, more than 800 local children took part in programs at the facility. Without Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre, these children would not have this opportunity.

Affordability goes beyond housing: it also extends to affordable access to recreation for everyone. Multiple studies have shown that access to recreation reduces obesity levels, protects against mental illness, decreases depression and anxiety, and contributes to healthier communities. These benefits should be extended to the most vulnerable in our community.

For every month this project is delayed:
- The cost of the project increases by $400,000.
- The cost of band-aiding the current facility to keep the doors open is $108,000.
- The cost of subsidizing the current facility is $17,000 more than it would to subsidize the new facility.

I want to highlight that delaying this project by 2 years increases the cost to taxpayers by at least $12.6 million.

We say that we need a new facility, that it needs to include a 50m pool, and that we need it now.


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What We Are Asking For:

Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre is an important part of our community, especially for low-income residents, minority groups, and people with various physical abilities. It is important that the new Crystal Pool building not only meets the recreation needs of the community, but also the needs of low-income residents, minority groups, and people with various physical abilities.

- We ask Council to ensure that community inclusivity isn’t lost in the re-design process of the new Crystal Pool recreation centre.

- We support a design that does not include an extended closure of the facility, leaving low-income residents, minority groups, and people with various abilities without access to a recreation facility.

- We support a design that increases pool and fitness capacity from the current facility, which currently operates 22 percent above capacity. This includes the necessity of a 50m lane-swim pool.

- We support a design that includes fully accessible and gender-neutral shower and changing areas.

- We support a design that includes continuation of the Life Pass program for low-income residents.

- We support a design that includes continuation of the Muslim Swim for those who cannot use a mixed-gender pool.

- We support a design that includes fully accessible pools and fitness equipment for people of various physical abilities.

- We support a design that respects the importance of community green space.

 

We thank Council and the Mayor for their consideration of this petition.