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

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Veteran Saanich councillor Vicki Sanders won’t seek re-election

‘Council is becoming more complicated,’ says Coun. Leif Wergeland

Local and international artists paint murals across Victoria

Sixteen murals are spread out across downtown Victoria as part of the ‘concrete canvas’ project

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Longtime broadcaster joins race for Saanich council

Ian Jessop says he wants to bring support to Mayor Richard Atwell around council table

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada paid for study to understand Canadian attitudes

These are the highest-paid actresses of 2018

In its list released this week Forbes said all 10 earned a total of $186 million before tax

Most Read