VanSplash strategy charts course for new and renewed pools and aquatic innovation over next 25 years
We heard loud and clear that Vancouver needs more pools and the vision of building communities of aquatics users for a lifetime.
Stuart Mackinnon, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board
The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has approved the VanSplash: Vancouver Aquatics Strategy. The strategy lays out an ambitious 25-year vision for the future of aquatics through a city-wide planning approach. It makes the case for the significant capital investment needed to deliver new pools for Vancouverites.
Vancouver needs more pools
VanSplash recommendations respond directly to the call heard during an extensive public engagement process: “Vancouver needs more pools.”
“We heard loud and clear that Vancouver needs more pools and the vision of building communities of aquatics users for a lifetime,” said Stuart Mackinnon, Chair of the Vancouver Park Board. “With the approval of VanSplash, the Park Board can move forward with the planning and funding of an expanded system of pools, beaches and spray parks across Vancouver.”
VanSplash proposes a city-wide approach to planning future pools and other aquatic amenities and innovations. A key recommendation emphasizes the need for a mix of pool sizes and experiences, with pools categorized as small, medium, or large, and to ensure the qualitative experiences of pool users are reflected in the design of all future pools, regardless of their size.
Key immediate outcomes of the strategy include a new outdoor pool in South Vancouver, a renewed pool at Britannia Community Centre, and recommends conducting a feasibility studies for a naturally filtered swimming pool and a facility capable of hosting sport training and competition aquatics, something currently missing within Vancouver’s city limits. Comprehensive engagement plans will be launched ahead of any new or renewed aquatic facility to gather community feedback.
VanSplash was the result of more than three years of public engagement. During the engagement process in 2017 and 2018, staff heard from more than 7,000 residents at open houses, meetings, and through surveys. A draft report was presented to the Park Board in 2017.
During the final phase of engagement a city-wide advisory group was established to review draft recommendations and provide insights to staff. The advisory group, made up of 19 citizens representing a variety of demographics and aquatic experiences, met 10 times and presented their review and further recommendations to the Board in July 2019. Staff then integrated the majority of the advisory group’s findings into the revised VanSplash strategy.
The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation operates and maintains the largest public aquatic system in the province with nine indoor pools, five outdoor pools, and nearly 18 km of beaches. The Park Board also stewards a network of more than 240 parks and a large public recreation system of community centres, sports fields, golf courses, and street trees. Its mission is to provide, preserve, and advocate for parks and recreation services to benefit all people, communities, and the environment.