Victoria council will revisit where a new Crystal Pool building could go after the North Park Neighbourhood Association (NPNA) again asked that it be built somewhere accessible t0 the city’s most vulnerable.
The decision, made during the Thursday council meeting, was unanimous.
A feature of the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan is “commitments to equity and affordability throughout the provision of city services, its operations and decision-making,” reads a report from Alto and Dubow. “Application of equity and affordability policy analyses to the exploration of a future Crystal Pool facility provides an opportunity to test and evaluate such policies’ utility.”
Council directed the city manager to revisit the objectives, scope and schedule of the project.
They will embed four principles for the city’s emerging equity policies including applying “an equity lens to sitting, design, amenity selection, engagement, procurement and evaluation to inform decisions about and investment in community,” along with inviting potential partners and neighbourhood representatives to collaborate to align and help achieve these equity, accessibility and affordability objectives.
Staff are to also report back to council on potential locations in the North Park and Hillside or Quadra neighbourhoods.
In 2017, council decided to explore options to replace the ageing Crystal Pool facility, currently located in the 2000-block of Quadra Street.
Along with the creation of a schedule, budget and refined concept designs, the City has undertaken public consultation on the matter and in fall 2018 the public spoke back. A facility located at Central Park, the NPNA and Downtown Victoria Residents Association said, took away their green space.
They urged the City to consider parking lot spaces at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and Royal Athletic Park.
In early 2019 the City worked with RG Facilities, operators of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, to discuss the possibility of a new community recreation facility located in the parking lot next to the arena. However, the two groups “never came to a mutually acceptable arrangement.”
-With files from Nina Grossman
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