crystal pool equity lens

The Right Facility in the Right Place

Using an equity and affordability lens to guide capital investment projects

From an equity and affordability perspective what is the preferred location for the City’s Recreation and Wellness Centre?
Community’s Position*:  There is an unequaled opportunity to use this significant investment to reverse persistent and increasingly entrenched neighbourhood and demographic inequities across our community

This position has the support of board members from the neighbourhood associations of Burnside Gorge, Oaklands, Hillside Quadra, North Park, Fernwood and Downtown/Harris Green. At the May meeting of VCAN, neighbourhood representatives supported in concept the retention of the Crystal Pool in the north end of Victoria and need for 950 Kings to be retained for community benefit and recreation.  Furthermore, VCAN supports equity as the priority for the Neighbourhood Summit and Neighbourhood Strategies development

Seeking the City’s commitment 

Regarding the Crystal Pool replacement project: 

  1. Don’t build in scarce and valued public greenspace!
  2. Bring an equity lens to siting, design, amenity selection, engagement, procurement, and evaluation to inform decisions and investment in community.
  3. Bring an affordability lens to assess total cost of ownership, siting, amenity selection, operating costs, costs to taxpayers and users.
  4. Invite potential partners and neighbourhood representatives to collaborate to align and help achieve these equity and affordability objectives.
  5. Permanently table the current staff report with recommendation to site in Central Middle School and commit to retaining Crystal Pool north of Pandora street within walking distance of the people and neighbourhoods that will most benefit from it.
  6. Rise and report on the failed negotiations with RG Properties to site Crystal Pool in the arena parking lot.


Embed Distributional, Procedural, Structural and Inter-generational Equity into the City’s DNA ( amend corporate policies guiding hiring, staff training and professional development, procurement and civic engagement).

Social Benefits From Recreation And Physical Activity

View research on the social determinants of health and the inter-connection with recreation

  • Psychological and social well-being – Better cognition, brain development, mental health for children
  • Increased civic pride
    • Community attachment, engagement and cohesion,
    • Reduction in racism, bigotry, violence, crime: Newcomers – a way to connect with their new community
  • Economic development and prosperity – equalization benefits for low-income households
  • ”Durable by design” – more resilient and resistant to disease / chronic illness
  • Vastly improved early childhood developmental trajectories
  • Increased life expectancy overall
  • Reduced smoking rate for youth and adults
Global Best Practice (including BC Provincial directives) ask communities to incorporate an equity lens to “policies, programs, environments and practices in physical activity” in order to ensure truly universal access.

Municipal Equity Lens And Scorecard Tools

  1. Use data to unearth root causes of income and wealth disparity and systemic inequities.
  2. Develop a city-wide picture of who is being left behind (underserved, underrepresented, marginalized / ignored) in order to:
    • Inform policy of multiple
    • Guide investment decisions (capital investments, operating budgets, procurement and grants)
    • Distribute social services appropriately (defensible and therefore a smoother approval process)
  3. Evaluate how existing policies and practices of local government can continue to perpetuate or begin to address neighbourhood and household level inequities by analyzing internal data such as:
    • the allocation of city operating budgets and historical, current, and proposed capital investments;
    • the distribution of City services and infrastructure,
    • who is accessing civic buildings, services, programs and grants, and
    • who is represented on city staff, council, and committees.