The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has confirmed that a beloved and renowned swimming pool in the city may not open this summer.
Kitsilano Pool was named by CNN as one of the world’s best places to swim in 2020, but the pool off the shores of English Bay sustained heavy damage during a storm earlier this year.
City staff were only able to fully determine the extent of the destruction a few weeks ago, when the tides and groundwater had subsided. The inspection revealed deep cracks in the pool deck floor and other areas where the pool deck panels were lifted.
“This storm was unlike anything we’ve experienced before,” said Peter Fox, manager of recreation services, in a video posted to the Vancouver Park Board’s Twitter page Tuesday.
“We also have chambers that were used to help fill the pool and they’ve also been damaged.”
Spanning 137 metres, Kits Pool is the longest salt water swimming pool in North America. Work to repair it is now underway, but it will be many months before swimmers can get back in the water.
To offset the impact of the closure, the Vancouver Park Board said it will extend the opening hours of the Second Beach and New Brighton pools while staff explore other options.
“Really, we need to address the seawall first,” said Steve Kellock, the board’s recreation director, in an interview. “We also need to get some geo tech experts on site with ground-penetrating radar to see if there’s any voiding under the pool tank.”
The Stanley Park seawall and Jericho Pier also suffered heavy damage during the January wind storm and king tide, with estimated repair costs at about $1.5 million and $20 million, respectively.
King tides, which tend to be more pronounced in winter, occur when the sun and moon’s gravitational forces reinforce each other — periods when the moon is closest to the Earth.
A price to fix Kits Pool has not yet been determined, and the Vancouver Park Board said it’s coming up with better preparation plans for future storms, which are expected to become more common due to climate change.
The board hopes to complete a damage assessment of Kits Pool in the next few months.