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The decision on ranking new community centres (and outdoor pools) starts tomorrow

July 7th, 2010 · 25 Comments

Community centres are among the most popular social centres in the city. They’re all packed to the rafters and the park board/city can’t seem to build them fast enough.

Every three years, the park board gets the unlovely job of deciding which one or two centres will be replaced in the next three-year capital plan. Although they look at factors like age of the existing building and the population that the centre is serving, another factor is how hard the community fights for a centre and what it’s able to contribute.

So the lining up starts tomorrow (July 8) at the planning committee of park board, 6:30 at the park board offices (agenda item attached below).

One of the debates this year is going to be over the whole messy outdoor pool issue. As people who follow this blog know, the Mount Pleasant community is up in arms over the closure of the small outdoor pool at 16th and Ontario. There is a new outdoor pool at the new Olympics-built community centre but 1. it’s not open yet and 2. the pool is just a wading pool, not the kind of pool that allows people to do laps outside or be a cool teenager hangout. (Scuttlebutt in the community is that there was supposed to be a real full-size outdoor pool, but that park planners bowed to opposition from nearby residents, who were worried about the noise that would emanate from a full-size pool.)

At the same time, people in Sunset are also mad that their outdoor pool was closed. For the last few years, the mantra at park board has been that those neighbourhood outdoor pools are passe and too expensive, given that they only operate three or four months of the year. To which irate residents point out that there are three lovely, huge outdoor pools, one recently built, all north of First Avenue in the city, but absolutely nothing easily for the other four-fifths of the city.

I had coffee the other day with park board commissioners Aaron Jasper and Sarah Blyth, who are feeling the heat on this issue and seem to be searching for some kind of solution — possibly digging out the wading pool at the new Riley Park centre and turning it into a full outdoor pool for the central city that could be used by people from Sunset and Marpole as well.

So, if you want something in your neighbourhood, best start crusading ASAP or it could be shuffled aside for other priorities.

As promised, the agenda

Board of Parks and Recreation
Planning & Environment Committee Meeting
Thursday, July 08, 2010 at 6:30 pm
at 2099 Beach Avenue


  1. Approval of Minutes of the May 6, 2010 Meeting
  2. Community Centre Renewal Priorities
    Staff presentation and delegations in regards to the priorities for community centre and other recreation facilities renewal and the identification of feasibility studies for a number of potential projects.
  3. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Update
    Association presentation on the condition of the facility.

Members of the public will be invited to speak to the Committee on these items. For further information, please contact Hart Nijjar at 604.257.8453.


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