Would you donate to help replace Vancouver’s damaged Kits Pool?

Click to play video: 'Vancouver mayor and city councillor suggest donations, sponsorships for new Kits pool'
Vancouver mayor and city councillor suggest donations, sponsorships for new Kits pool
A major leak will keep the popular Kitsilano Pool closed all summer. As Paul Johnson reports, Vancouver's mayor says now is the time to consider replacing the public pool with private dollars. – Jun 21, 2024

Vancouver city council could take the first steps next week toward replacing the city’s beloved and beleaguered Kitsilano Pool — including asking for donations.

The city revealed earlier this month that the popular outdoor facility would not open this summer, due to “a number of core issues” including a major leak problem.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Park Board on closure of Kits Pool all summer'
Vancouver Park Board on closure of Kits Pool all summer

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung have now put forward a motion to expedite a feasibility study on replacing the pool with a “new, modernized outdoor aquatics facility” more resilient to climate change and storm impacts.

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“Losing Kits Pool is not an option. It’s a beloved, iconic pool. It’s been here for essentially two generations of Vancouverites,” Kirby-Yung told Global News.

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The proposal asks staff to come up with options to prioritize the project in the city’s 2026-2030 capital plan.

The cost of replacing the near-50-year-old facility remains unknown, but will clearly be significant. The city’s last estimate to replace the indoor Vancouver Aquatics Centre pegged that project cost at $140 million.

Sim and Kirby-Yung’s motion calls on the city to lobby senior levels of government for help paying for the project but also pitches asking the public to chip in as well.

It calls for the creation of a dedicated fund to collect donations from “the public, corporate and philanthropic sectors” by the end of July 2024.

“Absolutely I think there is a lot of Vancouverites who are willing to step up and either donate and be philanthropic, and if they want to do that we would be more than happy to have them contribute to it,” Kirby-Yung said.

The motion further calls for the pool to be considered as a “priority” opportunity for corporate sponsorship as a potential funding source.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver’s Kits Pool will not open this summer'
Vancouver’s Kits Pool will not open this summer

Along with working to speed up the pool’s replacement, the motion asks city staff to provide an “urgent” report on possible measures and to extend the pool’s life in the short-term, along with costs and funding options.

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The pool remains under the aegis of the Vancouver Park Board, which Sim has pledge to eliminate, but Kirby-Yung said she doesn’t believe Vancouverites care about jurisdiction.

“They just want their kits pool back,” she said.

The pool was originally damaged in January 2022, during a king tide and storm surge that wreaked havoc on several city facilities, including the Stanley Park seawall and Jericho Pier.

In December 2023 it was revealed the pool was leaking more than 30,000 litres of water per hour.

Despite numerous repairs made in the most recent off-season, city officials said in early June that the pool was still losing too much water making it impossible to balance chemicals and operate the facility safely.

The pool attracts more than 120,000 visitors a year, and at 137 metres in length is Canada’s longest outdoor pool.

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