January 8, 2020
Dear Mayor and Council
I am writing to you regarding your upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting on January 9th., specifically the Project Update: Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre Replacement Project.
The Project Update presented by Thomas Soulliere recommends that council:
- Approve an allocation of up to $725,000 for the Feasibility Study; and
- Approve the process to create a Project Advisory Group for the Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre Replacement Project, as outlined in this report.
I strongly urge you to reject the recommendations above and return to the plans that were developed for the southwest corner of Central Park and implement them.
I make this recommendation for the following reasons:
- The current facility is at end of life and can break down at any time. A further two-year delay in the decision-making process leaves many of our most vulnerable citizens at risk of having no pool.
- There was no permanent loss of green space in the plans for the southwest corner of Central Park. Further, the basketball and tennis courts could be temporarily shifted to the back of the current facility during the build to minimize service disruptions for those who use them.
- The residents of North Park, who represent less than 4% of Victoria, were consulted on the southwest corner plans directly through their Neighbourhood Association and the public engagement process. Not all members of this community disagreed with the plans.
At this time would be in the best interest of the residents of Victoria if the city would focus its attention of acquiring funding for the new facility. Mayor and Councils’ decision to return a $6 million grant and to not apply for a grant that could have paid up to 73.3% of the pool and recreation centre replacement costs has created a significant risk to the project. You will need to find new sources of funding that will pay the majority of replacement costs if we are to move forward with this health and fitness facility.