As reported by Matt Robinson in the Vancouver Sun: “A shiny, new $75-million destination pool is something most city residents would positively yearn for.But not in Kitsilano, where some locals are decrying proposed plans for such a facility in Connaught Park on West 12th near Arbutus. For these residents, the problem is two-fold: not only has the city’s park board failed to adequately consult people about the idea, but to go ahead with construction would do irreparable harm to a key piece of the community. Rebecca Lockhart is among many who have developed a strong affinity for the Kitsilano Community Centre. The well-appointed centre, located at the southwest corner of Connaught Park, boasts a fitness centre, ice rink, community garden, preschool and children’s water park, among other amenities.
By Lockhart’s read, all that could be lost or permanently altered if a big, brash sport training pool designed to attract a major influx of residents from across the city were built at the location.Recent park board documents related to its proposed VanSplash aquatic services strategy — up for consideration by commissioners on Jan. 29 — are not clear on whether the community centre as a whole or in part would need to be overhauled to make way for the pool, but they do raise such a possibility. Either way, Lockhart believes it would fundamentally disrupt the cozy, community centre feel to the area.…“This is about more than pools. This is about people having a right to know when big changes are coming and about being given a say — a real say, a legitimate say — so that people in positions of power, like these park board commissioners, can make decisions in good conscience, knowing that they actually have an idea of what people think”.
The park board had held five open houses, and conducted focus groups and online surveys. This work was part of a new strategy to shift away from neighbourhood pools to destination type of pools, and two local pools would be closed if the new Connaught Park pool proceeds. But it appears that destination pools, just like the ‘Not in My Back Yard” and “Yes in My Back Yard” factions for higher residential density require good public process, mutual consensus and clearly shared development objectives. You many want to take a look at the comments on the Vancouver Sun page about this potential project.