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

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation looks to grow funding for memory garden

Foundation will start new campaign next month as it wraps up recruitment campaign

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Survey says 27% of Victoria employers look to hire this quarter

Another 13 % of employers anticipate cutbacks

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read