Here we are in Vancouver, a city that is basically surrounded by water but we have few outdoor pools in which to learn to swim or to spend time at. As Kenneth Chan writes in the Daily Hive, Montreal has over 70 outdoor pools, and Toronto has 60 outdoor pools.
Vancouver has a measly five outdoor pools, even though it has a more salubrious climate, and one would argue more reason to train kids to swim because of the access to the ocean and river waters.
For over ten years there has been no outdoor pool at Mount Pleasant Park, which is located at 16th Avenue and Ontario right beside the Simon Fraser Elementary School. There was an outdoor pool there previously, and it was frequented by families and kids in the neighbourhood.
This is what it used to look like below. And yes, back in the day kids went over the fence at midnight to swim.
I know the pool well because I lived directly across from it on 15th Avenue. At that time the Mount Pleasant Community Centre was also located here, but has now moved to a Kingsway location. The pool itself when in operation was not noisy; it was the community centre that could be noisy at night with large weddings that went on well into the early hours.
Because of the huge operating costs of the old outdoor pool, it was removed and its replacement is now contemplated. The Parks Board is considering a 14.4 million dollar new outdoor pool with a four lane 25 metre lap pool, and a portion with a shallower depth for a “leisure” pool, as well as change rooms and pool equipment rooms.
Sounds good, right? But no, opponents are already out against this plan, and they have launched signage in the existing public park and a facebook page against the development of a public pool. These residents are decrying the use of the public park for the potential pool replacement, instead wanting the park to remain as it is, a turf oasis.
The residents are upset about a grassy raised area that is close to the school being absorbed into the new pool development, and the fact that the pool will be there and will bring families and kids.
You can take a look at this Vancouver is Awesome article by Mae Jacobson that outlines the issues the anti-poolers are presenting, including soil and trees being carbon sequesters and the fact that this pool amenity will only be open 100 days of the year.
You can also view the website of the Vancouver Society for Outdoor Pools who are advocating for more outdoor swimming opportunities to be funded in the 2022-2026 Capital Plan, including the Mount Pleasant Pool.