1. What are some of the key challenges with the current facility?
- Through engagement with facility users, a number of service issues have been highlighted, including: Barriers to accessibility for individuals with physical or sensory challenges, lack of family change areas, inadequate fitness and program spaces and inadequate leisure pool space to meet existing demand.
- Council has received reports in recent years regarding the current state of the 46-year old facility and the capital investment needs for building systems. In recent years the City has invested heavily in various replacement projects to keep the facility operational.
2. What options were considered by City Council for the future of Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre?
Over the past year the City has been conducting a feasibility study, obtaining public input on the current and future community need, as well as developing potential facility options. Based on this analysis Council was presented with three options:
1) Retrofit of the existing facility ($41 million):
- Upgrading building system, limited accessibility and program space improvements
- Would require a closure of 10 to 18 months
- Would add approximately 30 years to the facility
2) Renovation and expansion of the existing facility ($57 million):
- Upgrades to building systems, significantly improved accessibility, enhanced and expanded program space, including a reconfigured leisure pool area
- Would require a closure of approximately 2 years
- Would add approximately 30 years to facility
3) Construction of a new aquatic centre ($69.4 million):
- A new, modern facility offering a significant improvement in overall accessibility and visitor experience
- Will provide a new 50m pool, leisure pool, capacity to meet existing and future needs, and avoid a disruption of service through closure of the existing facility
- Will have a lifespan of approximately 50 years
Please click here for the two staff reports that pertain to these options:
Committee of the Whole, December 1, 2016: See Item 9 Project Update: Crystal Pool Feasibility Study for complete report and appendices
Committee of the Whole, February 16, 2017: See Item 5, Project Update (#2): Crystal Pool Feasibility Study for complete report and appendices.
3. Which option for the future of Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre did Council approve?
Council decided that option 3, rebuilding a new facility, would provide the best value for money. Staff have been directed to plan a new facility with a total budget of $69.4 million.
4. What will be included in the new facility?
Based on public feedback, we heard that the following are essential for a new facility:
- 50m pool length
- barrier-free access
- leisure pool
- universal/family change areas
- multi-purpose space
- separate and expanded the fitness and wellness amenities
While the conceptual designs outlining the various program elements are in place, the detailed design of the new recreation facility is still to be completed. Further details of this consultation are available here. See Item #9 and Attachment C: Input from User Groups and General Public.
5. Where will the new facility be located?
The new facility is expected to be located directly beside the current Crystal pool, in Central Park.
A Park Improvement Plan will be undertaken to address the full Central Park site, likely parallel to construction.
6. Will there be more parking at the new facility?
Increasing on-site parking was one of the issues raised by the community during public engagement. A transportation study will be a part of the current phase of work on the facility plan, including parking options.
7. When could construction begin?
If funding is secured, construction could begin in the summer of 2018. If a referendum is required, it may take a few more months. The construction process is expected to take approximately two years.
8. If there is a new facility, will Crystal Pool be closed during the construction?
No. As the proposed site for the new building is adjacent to the current building, this will avoid an extended facility closure.
9. How will the new recreation facility be funded?
The City of Victoria has $10 million from the Building and Infrastructure Fund to contribute to the project. The remainder will be covered by external grants, or by a loan.
Currently the City is actively exploring funding opportunities from other levels of government and organizations to fund the new facility. Provincial and federal governments both offer grants to assist with projects like this.
If grant funding is not secured, the City will hold a referendum to approve the borrowing of necessary funds.
10. Why are you doing all this work ahead of funding certainty?
We will be in a better position to take advantage of government grant announcement in 2018.
All pre-construction design work is being carried out within the $10 million approved by Council in February 2017.
We need to move forward on pre-construction and design work, of which costs are typically ineligible through government grants
11. What happens if we don’t get government funding?
If we do not get government or grant funding, the City will need to borrow funds which would mean a referendum would occur to obtain permission from the voters to borrow funds.
Government funding programs recognize how community projects like the Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre Replacement Project break down barriers to access, keep people healthy and fit, and provide the wellness benefits of social inclusion. At this point, we are working to secure government funding for the Replacement Project and these discussions have been encouraging.
12. If there is a referendum, when will it be?
If there is need for a referendum, a date will be communicated at the appropriate time and a minimum of 45 days’ notice will be given.
13. If there is referendum, what is the question that will be asked in the referendum?
If there is a referendum, the question that will be asked will be specific to the amount of money to be borrowed to fund the new recreation facility. That specific amount will be a result of what information can be gained about other funding options, in addition to the $10 million from the City’s Buildings and Infrastructure Reserve.
If there is a need for a referendum, any eligible elector is entitled to vote on the proposed borrowing. To achieve assent a majority of votes must be in favour of the proposal. If the majority votes to borrow funds, City Council has the option to borrow funds but are not mandated to do so.
14. How will the community be engaged moving forward
- User groups and individuals who have been engaged during the Crystal Pool Feasibility Study over 2016-2017 have already been further engaged in May 2017 on the refinement of needs and facility design options.
- Throughout 2017, staff will attend community events and provide information on the City web site and through other means, to update residents on the project and answer any questions.
- As concept drawings and sketches come out, feedback will be collected online and at community events to make sure we are getting it right.
- Got something to say right now? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your comments, or ask to be added to our mailing list.
15. What will happen if the majority of the electorate votes “no” in the referendum, on the question of borrowing the required funds?
Staff will seek direction from Council and develop a new plan as required based on Council’s instructions.
16. If a member of the public wants to provide input or ask a question about this project, what is the best way to do this?
Please email email@example.com with any input or questions. You will receive a reply and your email will be reviewed by the staff assigned to this project.