Planning for the Future of Crystal Pool

The Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre has been helping the community stay active for 45 years. Now it's time for us to get the Centre in better shape!

Work Continues on the Future of Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre

Staff have recently developed the following list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for community information. This list will be continually updated over the coming many months to provide timely and accurate information.

  1. Which option for the future of Crystal Pool did Council approve?

    Council has directed staff to develop a plan for a new facility to cost no more
    than $69.4 million.

  2. What options were considered by City Council for the future of Crystal Pool?

    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. What are some of the key challenges with the current facility?

    • The current facility receives approximately 400,000 visits annually and is a long standing component of the
      region’s network of public recreation facilities.
    • 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.
    • Further investment of approximately $13 million (in 2016 dollars) is projected to extend the facility life for 15 years.
    • 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.
  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 close to the current facility in Central Park.

  6. How will the new recreation facility be funded?

    Council has approved $10 million from the City’s Buildings and Infrastructure Reserve and the remainder would be acquired through a combination of external borrowing and other funding. External debt funding over a 20-year term has been recommended, to be approved through a public referendum. Staff are exploring grant options from the Federal and Provincial Governments, as well as other potential funding opportunities.

  7. 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. 

  8. 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 will be further involved in the coming months on the refinement of needs and facility design options. The design and additional facility information will be shared with the public as it becomes available, in advance of referendum.
    • Voters will decide on the question of borrowing funds for the new facility through a referendum. 
    • 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. 
    • A primary goal of the City is to equip residents with the information they need to make an informed decision about
      whether or not the necessary funds may be borrowed.
  9. When could construction begin?

    If the electorate votes ‘yes’ to question of borrowing funds for the new facility, construction would begin in 2018.  The construction process is expected to take approximately two years.

  10. If the community decides to build a new facility, will Crystal Pool be closed during the construction of the new facility?

    No. As the proposed site for the new building is adjacent to the current building, this will avoid an extended
    facility closure.

  11. When is the referendum?

    The referendum is anticipated for Fall 2017.

  12. What is the question that will be asked in the referendum?

    The question that will be asked will be specific to the amount of money needing 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.  The electorate (all voters in the City of Victoria) will know the amount of money needed and the question of the referendum date a minimum of 45 days prior to the referendum date. 

  13. Who can vote in a referendum?

    In the city-wide 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. In either process, assent is required to borrow although the results of the process if affirmative, are not binding on Council to proceed.

  14. Who is eligible to be a resident elector?

    To vote in a City of Victoria referendum as a resident elector, you must meet ALL of the following requirements:

    • You will be age 18 or older on general voting day
    • You are a Canadian citizen.
    • You have been a resident of B.C. for at least 6 months immediately before the day you register to vote.
    • You have been a resident of Victoria for at least 30 days immediately before the day you register to vote.
    • You are not disqualified by the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in an election
      nor are you otherwise disqualified by law from voting.
  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 crystalpool@victoria.ca with any input or questions. You will receive a reply and your email will be reviewed by the staff assigned to this project.