City awarded $1 million accessibility grant for Crystal Pool project

The new wellness centre aims to increase visits by 35 per cent over current facility

The City of Victoria has been awarded a $1-million grant from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to help make the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre more accessible to those living with disabilities.

“This is wonderful news as we are building the new facility to be truly inclusive and to increase access to recreation and wellness activities for residents of all abilities,” said Mayor Lisa Helps in a statement.

The new inclusive facility is projected to result in a 35-per-cent increase in visitation over the existing Crystal Pool, due to its increased size and accessibility options.

ALSO READ: Affordable housing idea dead for Central Park, idea shifts to Royal Athletic Park lot

Thomas Soulliere, director of parks, recreation and facilities, said he’s very excited about the options the funding will help accommodate.

“We walked them through some of the features, including access to the pool tank; all of the pools will be accessible to individuals with mobility challenges,” he said. “It could be lifts, or ramps in other locations, and we’ve got a new feature we’re exploring called a transfer bench for those who still have upper body mobility.”

Other features will include adaptive exercise equipment in the fitness centre, pool space, and dry space areas.

“The features of the building are designed to make sure it’s easy to navigate, whether you have a mobility challenge, or other disabilities,” Soulliere said.

The Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities’ Play Finds A Way movement has committed to raising $50 million towards removing accessibility barriers in Canada, and in this year’s pool of over 200 applicants, three facilities were awarded $1-million grants. Others included the Living City Foundation for the Bolton Camp in Caledon, Ont., and Grandview Children’s Foundation in Ajax, Ont.

The $1 million dollar grant comes at a time when the City of Victoria is facing a deadline crunch for the Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre.

By the start of July, only 23 per cent of funding for the budgeted $69.4-million project had been secured, with the City looking to cover up to 72 per cent of the budget through a federal-provincial grant program called Investing in Canada. While it was originally anticipated that the grant would be secured by the end of 2018, it now appears funding decisions won’t be finalized until the middle of 2019.

RELATED: Delayed grant decisions could send new Crystal Pool costs soaring

That delay could potentially cost the City its $6 million Gas Tax Fund grant, which was awarded last February with a caveat that all other project funds would be in place by March 31, 2019.

While other options are being explored in the meantime, Soulliere said the $1-million Jumpstart grant is a vital piece in bringing the plans together.

“This partnership is meaningful for us; a million is a substantial investment,” he said. “They had a very high level of interest and we’re very excited to have been selected.”


A digital rendering of the new Crystal Pool and Wellness Centre (City of Victoria)

Just Posted

BC Ferries considers passenger only ferry between West Shore and Victoria

Royal Bay, Esquimalt and Ship Point considered as part of study into new route

Sentence handed down for sex assaults committed more than 30 years ago

Man in his 80s will serve a conditional sentence in the community

Saanich police continue to search for attacker in Gordon Head sexual assault

Police urge residents to remain vigilant, lock doors and windows

Victoria amalgamation committee meeting for first time

The citizen’s assembly will hold its inaugural meeting on Tuesday

Simon Keith undergoes second heart transplant

Former pro athlete turned transplant advocate gets another chance

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 12

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

POLL: Would you consider living in a tiny home?

Victoria is the latest Capital Region community to take a look at… Continue reading

Nearly 40% of British Columbians not taking their medications correctly: poll

Introduction of legal cannabis could cause more issues for drug interactions

Mining company fined $70,000 after two workers killed in B.C. truck crash

Broda Construction pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe workplace at Cranbrook rock quarry

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

B.C. poverty plan combines existing spending, housing programs

Target is to lift 140,000 people out of poverty from 2016 level

Avalanche warning issued for all B.C. mountains

Warm weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

Temperature records dating back to 1947 broken in B.C.

The Squamish airport recorded the hottest temperature in the province (and Canada) on Sunday: 21.3 C

Most Read