The Victoria Curling Club wants to be considered for the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre (Victoria Curling Club)

Victoria Curling Club wants to be part of new Crystal Pool Facility after lease renewal ends

The 66-year old club owns the building, but sits on city land

The Victoria Curling Club is interested in being included in the new Crystal Pool Facility after their lease stopped being renewed.

The 66-year-old building is owned by the club, but sits on City land as part of a unique, grandfathered deal put in place after the Korean War. At the time, veterans wanted recreational facilities, but municipalities were short on cash. A deal ensued that said if citizens could build their own facilities and city could reap the recreational benefits, the building owners wouldn’t have to pay city taxes. For the Curling Club, the deal is still in place, but a problem arose two years ago when the city stopped renewing their lease.

“They said they wanted to conduct a strategic land holding plan, so no more leases for the time,” said Neil Campbell, president of the Victoria Curling Club. “We’ve been here 65-plus years, we need some certainty to be able to apply for grants.”

READ MORE: Victoria Curling Club, arena parking lot considered for new Crystal Pool location

Campbell said the city has been supportive of their club and have kept their leasing on a month-by-month basis but that more certainty could be required to attain funding for future plans.

One solution was brought forward by the North Park Neighbourhood Association (NPNA), which suggested that the Curling Club and its surrounding parking lot be considered as the site for the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre.

“No one has asked us our opinion except NPNA,” Campbell said. “We’d be supportive, we could use a new multi-purpose facility.”

The NPNA and the Downtown Victoria Business Association prepared a comprehensive report for Thursday’s council meeting that explains why the curling club is an ideal site.

ALSO READ: City of Victoria considers moving Crystal Pool to different site

“This would offer uninterrupted pool use, no disruption of pool space, and the ability to put parking in there,” said Sean Kahil, board member of the NPNA. “The other thing is the City has identified this area as being park deficient … Building a new facility outside of Central Park means we can reclaim new park land.”

The NPNA and the DVBA brought forward the report after pointing out a lack in community consultation for the project.

In a blog post on Sept. 18, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps admitted consultation had been overlooked.

“What we failed to do, is to look from the perspective of the community members that live around the pool and see that the pool is also in the park,” Helps said. “It’s their neighbourhood park. Being singularly focused on the pool meant that we didn’t do engagement on the park.”

ALSO READ: Delayed grant decisions could send new Crystal Pool costs soaring

On Oct. 4 council directed city staff to work with the neighborhood associations in this plan, but Kahil said so far they haven’t had any co-operation.

“The consultation process was all about the building, they’ve gone to the details of picking out the tiles, but any public concern about outside the building, like the structure, was excluded,” he said.

It would cost the city more than $200,000 to conduct a thorough analysis comparing the sites and would risk the first year of a multi-million dollar federal-provincial grant, but Kahil said it was worth the cost.

“The $200,000, when we’re looking at $70 million-plus building to make sure we’ve done it correctly is not really significant,” Kahil argued. “The huge risk is not by putting it off for a year, but by rushing into it when we’re not prepared.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Woman flees North Saanich RCMP in dinghy

Victoria woman tries to escape in dinghy, arrested for break and enter, theft and mischief

Youth have privacy rights, doctor tells inquest into Oak Bay teen’s opioid death

Elliot Eurchuk died of a drug overdose. He was found unresponsive in his bedroom in April 2018

Sidney welcomes spicy new arrival

Mexican restaurant Taco Shell opened this week on Beacon Avenue

RCMP fine man $1,150 for camping, lighting campfire in Mill Hill Regional Park

Campfires prohibited at all regional parks except designated campgrounds

No boozing while BC Ferries cruising

Planned June launch for alcohol sales delayed

Victoria church displays memorial tapestry for those lost to opioid crisis

Christ Church Cathedral hosts talks on opioid crisis on June 26 and July 3

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

B.C. oil tanker ban squeaks through final vote in Senate

Bill C-48 bars oil tankers from loading at ports on B.C’s north coast

’When thunder roars, go indoors’: How to keep safe before lightning strikes

Each year, an estimated 10 deaths and as many as 164 injuries are lightning-related

B.C. rolls out online registration to speed up evacuee processing

Central Okanagan district tests province’s streamlined emergency management digital self-registration

NHL Draft 2019: First-round mock selections

Hughes expected to go No. 1 overall; Canucks have 10th pick

B.C.-born Carey Price brings young fan to tears at NHL Awards banquet

Anderson Whitehead first met his hockey idol after his mother died of cancer

Most Read