crystal pool site selection

crystal pool site selection criteria:

  • It is a central location that is easily accessible via two major bus routes.
  • It is ideally situated on the proposed Vancouver Street bike lanes, part of Victoria’s AAA
    active transportation network.
  • It will result in no disruption for Crystal Pool users, and no disruption for users of Central
    Park outdoor facilities (e.g. basketball courts, fitness equipment).
  • There will be no loss of green space, supporting the City’s sustainability and Urban
    Forest Master Plan goals.
  • It co-locates the pool in the same vicinity as the Save-On Foods Memorial Arena and
    Royal Athletic Park, offering the potential of co-generation of energy with the arena.
  • It represents a best use for this City-owned parcel, in a City that is growing and where
    surface parking lots will soon not be supportable.
  • It allows for the existing Crystal Pool building to be repurposed as a community centre for the northern communities following the completion of the new Crystal Pool facility.

Here is our analysis of site options here or pictured below.

The case for 940 Caledonia:

The neighbourhood associations of the City’s northern neighbourhoods (North Park Neighbourhood Association, Quadra Hillside Neighbourhood Association and Victoria Downtown Residents Association) support 940 Caledonia Avenue as the preferred location for the new Crystal Pool. Based on this, the NPNA, Downtown Residents Association, and the Downtown Blanshard Advisory Committee have put together a unified statement on this direction. The points are: 

The city Owned Parking Lot (940 Caledonia) is the best options for new Crystal Pool Site

On February 6, staff will be reporting back to Council about potential sites for the new Crystal Pool facility. We hope that City staff will agree that the City owned parking lot at 940 Caledonia Ave., is the preferred options for the new pool.

  • 940 Caledonia is already located on an active transportation network. It is ideally situated on the new Vancouver Street bike lanes, and several BC Transit bus lines provide easy access to this location. This location is also located within walking distance for many in the northern neighbourhoods.
  • We believe that locating the pool closer to Royal Athletic Park offers a complementary and efficient use of resources, and offers the potential of co-generation of energy with the Save on Foods Memorial Arena. Locating the Crystal Pool facility at 940 Caledonia allows the City to use the original design while retaining Central Park to benefit North Park, downtown, Harris Green, and Hillside Quadra neighbourhoods.
  • Furthermore, there will be no disruption for Crystal Pool users, and no disruption for those who use the Central Park outdoor facilities. There will be no loss of green space, which supports the City’s sustainability and Urban Forest Master Plan goals.

To address the ever present issues of parking, there are several viable options. Vancouver Street could be closed to through traffic between Caledonia and Green, and transformed into parking to offer accessible parking to those with disabilities accessing Crystal Pool. Given the easy access to nearby active transportation networks and additional modular parking at the Save on Foods Memorial Arena, which would compensate for the number of stalls lost to construction, onsite parking at the new Crystal Pool project would be reserved for those with disabilities. 

Central Park is not a viable option. 

  • North Park, Downtown, and Harris Green share one park, Central Park. The City of Victoria has identified these neighbourhoods as being parkland deficient, recommending that the City in fact add one new park to either North Park or Harris Green to address gaps in neighbourhood access to parks. The new Crystal Pool facility cannot be located in Central Park at the expense of the amenities already located on this site. Instead, there exists a critical need to protect our precious green space, especially in and around the downtown core. 

The North Park Neighbourhood Association, Downtown Residents Association, and Downtown Blanshard Advisory Committee believe that locating the new Crystal Pool at 940 Caledonia is the best option. 

  • Central Park provides playgrounds for children, youth, and families as well as free, accessible recreational opportunities for people of all ages. The Steve Nash foundation funded the basketball courts in Central Park in 2006, and the courts are one of the most popular attractions in the park for players of all ages and skill levels. These courts offer free recreation and a gathering place for local youth and adults. They are also used in programming by the Masjid Al-Iman Mosque directly across the street.
  • The other park amenities such as the tennis courts, baseball diamond, playground, and exercise equipment see daily use resulting in a vibrant, safe, community oriented gathering space. 
  • The south west corner of Central Park – where the development is being considered – enjoys the most sunlight and established tree growth. It is also a well used space for the summer camps for children and youth that call Central Park home base. 
  • The disruption to everyday life that would be caused by building the new Crystal Pool facility in Central Park would disproportionately inconvenience those who have the fewest options to recreate elsewhere. 

By locating the Crystal Pool facility to the City owned parking lot at 940 Caledonia the City can achieve many of the goals outlined in the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan as well as the OCP while creating an opportunity for increased community benefit. 

Re-purpose the current Crystal Pool facility for community use. 

By locating the new Crystal Pool facility at 940 Caledonia, a portion of the existing Crystal Pool facility can be repurposed for community use. We ask that this renovation be considered within the consideration of this project. By repurposing a portion of the current Crystal Pool facility for a shared community centre, the City can reduce the demand on space at Hartland Landfill while fulfilling a repeated request from three community associations. The proposed community centre will serve North Park, Downtown, and Harris Green residents and the organizations and agencies that support them. Possible uses include all ages programming, a community kitchen, newcomers welcoming centre, and childcare. 

This is not a question of a pool or a community centre. These neighbourhoods need both. We are confident that by choosing 940 Caledonia this can be achieved.