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

Saanich says Regina Park costs won’t melt away snow budget

Municipality has so far spent $25,000 on snow removal

‘Two chicks by the sea’ saved by their guardian angels

North Saanich Fire Department rescues two snowed-in seniors

Nine jobs at the Victoria Police Department at risk after budget decision

VicPD Chief Const. Del Manak said the police department is being treated ‘unfairly’

Emergency crews respond to rollover crash in Victoria

Two-vehicle crash leaves van on its side

Fashion Fridays: Up your beauty game

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Concern over student vaping grows in Vancouver Island schools

Island Health officer says parents and educators have ample reason to be concerned

Third measles case in Vancouver prompts letter to parents

Measles is highly contagious and spreads easily through the air

Most Read