Athlete Karmen McNamara wrote an open letter to the City of Victoria about an extended closure of Crystal Pool. (Nicole Crescenzi/News staff)

Former Team Canada athlete pens open letter to City of Victoria about Crystal Pool

Karmen McNamara says an extended closure of the recreation facility would be ‘devastating’

Less than 500 metres from Central Park, where design plans tentatively place the new Crystal Pool, lives regular user Karmen McNamara.

McNamara, who has previously competed for Team Canada, wrote an open letter to the City of Victoria’s new council on Nov. 12, urging them to reconsider the on-again-off-again design plans for the public recreation facility near the city centre.

“[C]losing the facility for any length of time would be devastating for the community that depends on it,” McNamara wrote, adding that the most vulnerable community members would be affected the most.

In 2016, design consultations to upgrade the facility included more than 4,400 people such as those who live nearby, community groups and people with disabilities.

The outcome was a plan to build a new facility in Central Park, next to the current Crystal Pool. It would mean the building would not have to close during construction — a timeframe estimated at two years or more.

READ MORE: Victoria’s new Crystal Pool could change locations

In a council meeting in early October, Mayor Lisa Helps directed city staff to reconsider the location of the new facility, after hearing that North Park residents were not adequately consulted.

McNamara said people living in North Park were consulted, and 80 per cent of people who responded to a survey about the low-barrier design were in favour of it. In her letter, she said the current design is good not only for its physical accessibility, but its financial accessibility.

“The facility, with its Life Passes for low-income residents, means the difference between access to recreation and a lack of access for many at-risk people. Additionally, the facility is home to the Special Olympics swim team,” McNamara wrote.

The athlete is familiar with the positive impact of such access through her volunteer work at the pool, as well as with Cool Aid and the Special Olympics swim team.

She noted that studies have shown how recreation makes communities healthy by reducing depression, anxiety and obesity levels, and by helping people with mental illness.

“This current design meets the needs of the greatest number of people, and reflects the needs of a growing, healthy, community,” she wrote. “In sum, I urge the Mayor and Council to continue with plans for a new facility that will not involve an extended closure. I ask you to please consider the importance of access to the facility for low-income and marginalized residents when making your decisions.”

McNamara’s open letter can be read on her website at www.karmenmcnamara.ca.

READ MORE: Victoria applies for federal funding for Crystal Pool at risk of losing $6M in gas tax funds


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Police investigating incident in Saanich neighbourhood

Neighbours tell Black Press Media that a body has been found, but police remain tight-lipped.

Colwood man takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer for 11th year in a row

Team Finn has raised almost $3 million for BC Cancer Foundation

Langford lizard sighting excites Victoria museum curator

Curator of vertebrate zoology/knowledge explains the spread of the Wall lizard in the region

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read