Thank you for message and a copy of the motion you will be bringing forward at the Committee of the Whole Meeting January 9, 2020. I hope you don’t mind, I am coping the Mayor and other councillors on my response. I will also be sharing it on social media with my community.
As you are aware this has been an extremely costly and frustrating process. The idea of further delays is frightening to those of us who use the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre to manage our health and wellness. We do not have the luxury of putting our disabilities or illness on hold.
I have reviewed the document; it is not something I can support. The city has been looking for an alternative space since October 2018. It is now 2020. Your motion sets the city up for further studies which will take more time and cost more money. The motion also absolves council from you having to make a decision.
As a conservationist and environmental activist, I too have concerns about greenspace and our urban forest. I also value human life. As you are aware, there would be no permanent loss of greenspace in the park with the southwest corner plan. It is unfortunate that some trees would need to be removed for the new facility. If I have to choose between those few trees, and the lives of the people who rely on the facility for their health, I would have to choose the people. I make this choice knowing that once the old pool has been removed there is an opportunity to create an even larger urban forest and meaningful space for those who live in the immediate vicinity of the park. As for the amenities, I am quite sure that city staff can find a way to shift them to the other side of the park during the build
When we met you a few years ago Ben, I asked for your help when the MS Society of Canada closed our only fitness centre and gym in the country. I was concerned about the people who had been using the facility. Since the closing of the centre, twelve members of that community have died as their health declined more rapidly without access to an exercise facility and social community. Many of them died in isolation. Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre is a unique facility that provides lifelines to many of Victoria’s citizens. It is critical that this service continues.