June 18, 2017 7:58 pm
Updated: June 19, 2017 5:34 pm

Vancouver Park Board considering new natural outdoor pool along Fraser River

Sun, Jun 18: New pools are being proposed throughout Vancouver, including an outdoor pool along the Fraser river. Kristen Robinson has more.

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Vancouverites who love to swim could be seeing some new destinations popping up around the Lower Mainland over the next few years.

The Vancouver Park Board is recommending the creation of a new natural outdoor swimming pool along the Fraser River, as part of a new initiative to offer more unique aquatic destinations across the city. The recommendation will be made at the park board’s general meeting on Monday.

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Park board commissioner John Coupar says the proposal fits with Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, which is focused on urban sustainability initiatives, as well as the city’s push to create more inclusive neighbourhoods.

“I think it really fits well with [the city’s goal of] getting people to get together,” he says.

“It’s a big priority, because we’re seeing a lot of density in the Marpole area. We’re seeing a lot of development in that area of the city. [That’s] an area where where we’re seeing population growth, so it’s important to make sure we have the services there so people can get to know their neighbours. Certainly, being around a pool is a great community connector.”

While Coupar says the exact location of the pool is still unclear as no land has been purchased yet, he says there is money set aside in the budget to go ahead with the project once that location is confirmed.

READ MORE: Vancouver architects propose outdoor pool for Coal Harbour

The recommendation stems from an online survey the board held last summer as part of its VanSplash Aquatics Strategy, a long-term effort to improve the city’s pools and beaches over the next decade. Out of the survey’s over 4,500 respondents, 67 per cent expressed interest in a new natural outdoor pool, while 55 per cent said they’d like to see a floating pool in the ocean.

A floating pool uses its own water supply to fill a structure that sits in a larger body of water, allowing the illusion of swimming in a lake or ocean without having to worry about possible contamination from pollution.

Coupar says the floating pool idea has been considered for False Creek, and that other ideas such as temporary urban beaches and a harbour deck in the city are also being explored.

“Our staff have been looking around the world [for ideas],” Coupar says. “There’s a lot of really innovative ideas out there. For instance, there’s a floating pool in the River Thames in London. And that’s something we could look at for somewhere like False Creek, because we have a water quality problem, but we’ve got a lot of people that live very close by.”

The park board says it expects to nail down a location for the natural outdoor pool through further public consultations this fall, before a final strategy is presented in the winter.

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