As reported by Matt Robinson in the Vancouver Sun: “A shiny, new $75-million destination pool is something most city residents would positively yearn for.But not in Kitsilano, where some locals are decrying proposed plans for such a facility in Connaught Park on West 12th near Arbutus. For these residents, the problem is two-fold: not only has the city’s park board failed to adequately consult people about the idea, but to go ahead with construction would do irreparable harm to a key piece of the community. Rebecca Lockhart is among many who have developed a strong affinity for the Kitsilano Community Centre. The well-appointed centre, located at the southwest corner of Connaught Park, boasts a fitness centre, ice rink, community garden, preschool and children’s water park, among other amenities.
By Lockhart’s read, all that could be lost or permanently altered if a big, brash sport training pool designed to attract a major influx of residents from across the city were built at the location.Recent park board documents related to its proposed VanSplash aquatic services strategy — up for consideration by commissioners on Jan. 29 — are not clear on whether the community centre as a whole or in part would need to be overhauled to make way for the pool, but they do raise such a possibility. Either way, Lockhart believes it would fundamentally disrupt the cozy, community centre feel to the area.…“This is about more than pools. This is about people having a right to know when big changes are coming and about being given a say — a real say, a legitimate say — so that people in positions of power, like these park board commissioners, can make decisions in good conscience, knowing that they actually have an idea of what people think”.
The park board had held five open houses, and conducted focus groups and online surveys. This work was part of a new strategy to shift away from neighbourhood pools to destination type of pools, and two local pools would be closed if the new Connaught Park pool proceeds. But it appears that destination pools, just like the ‘Not in My Back Yard” and “Yes in My Back Yard” factions for higher  residential density require good public process, mutual consensus and clearly shared development objectives. You many want to take a look at the comments on the Vancouver Sun page about this potential project.


  1. I dislike the trend of the City to build more “destination” community centre facilities. It encourages people to drive to them instead of walk – like the old Riley Park library branch that used to be on Main Street but is now part of the destination community centre at Hillcrest. While the co-location of facilities is sometimes convenient, I am not convinced that the model is sustainable. These facilities are as bad as big box stores for the parking they require.

  2. The VanSplash aquatic services strategy states
    “All area of Vancouver are well served by indoor pool (10 mn drive)…”
    from there you can be sure to read only inanities in this report.
    the “city wide destination pool” at Connaught park is for sure one of them:
    Connaught park will be more than 1km away of the future broadway subway terminus, and will is and will be outside of catchment area of any transit form (800m for rapid transit, 400m for bus).
    hard to find a poorest choice for a “city wide destination” facility!
    Joyce collingwood neighborhood knows that too well:
    The city came, and explained resident the neighborhood need to densify- no worry about traffic, etc,…because we the city build “Transit Oriented Development”.
    residents replied, “what about community center, libraries, pool…?”
    the city answered:” well you have one 10mn drive from there, into a neighborhood refusing densification (and not accessible by transit)… and we gonna pour all the CAC extracted from you there and not in the densified neighborhood!
    And there is still some people questioning why the city densification schemed have so hard time to go through?
    people could oppose the connaught “city wide destination pool” for wrong reason, but they are doing the right thing. this Van splash strategy is built on wrong premises and need to be rethinked from scratch.

    1. Connaught park will be more than 1km away of the future broadway subway terminus, and will is and will be outside of catchment area of any transit form (800m for rapid transit, 400m for bus)
      As the exact location of the subway station has not been determined, I don’t see how you can make this claim. The corner of Arbutus and Broadway is, depending if the pool is part of a revamped rink or a separate facility, between 800-900m away.
      The bus stop at Larch & Broadway is b/w 175-260m
      Measurements made by the measure distance tool on Google Maps.

    2. Regarding the exact location of the Broadway subway:
      Sure at this time,those can only be assumption, but they are seriously backed by many provisions. example from the 2080 West broadway. Development permit

      arrangements shall be made to the satisfaction of the General Manager of Engineering
      Services, the Director of Planning and the Director of Legal Services for the provision of
      a right-of-way and option to purchase for public access, and for future construction
      over the station entrance area and the western 6.1 m (20 ft.) of the site;…

      …and that is 1km away of the kitsilano community center
      (macDonald B-Line stop is 600m from it, (but with the subway, this 99 b line will not go further East than Arbutus, so that will concern very patrons leaving West of Mac Donald, which have also the Byng pool and jericho hill, The later requiring attention in the context of the jericho land develoment)
      OK, overlooked larch # Broadway east bound. Westbound bus stop is a different story
      I agree that Hillcrest location is also a very poor choice due to the inherently bad Transit connections … but not worse than Connaught. King Edward station is also ~1km away (and connect much more people+job living in a 10mn train ride radius, than will do Connaught + broadway subway). it is also edging the Main street bus catchement.
      At the end the bus 33 connect Hillcrest well…even if you have to walk thru a parking lot before reaching the centre, since the park board always put car driver ahead of transit one, and the van spash strategy confirm this assertion! The main reason why the whole strategy need to be revisited.

      1. If the station is at Pinnacle it’s b/w 100-200 over the recommended guidelines.
        So? Really, so what?
        Guidelines are guidelines, not laws.
        And interesting you try to frame it a choice between rapid transit and the 99-B and not mention of any of the other bus lines. Or the 10th Ave bike route. Or the Arbutus Greenway. Or Trafalgar bike route. Or that one of the City’s largest high schools is located there.
        You statement hard to find a poorest choice for a “city wide destination” facility! is unhelpful hyperbole.

      2. Not sure I should enter in the above strawman argument above….but let’s recap:
        The vansplash strategy call for a “city wide destination pool” at Connaught park. so “city wide” should means accessible city wide, and that means primarily by transit mode targeting “city wide” trip (read 99 or future subway, rather than 9).
        then when come transit accessibility is the catchment area of transit:×382.png
        double the distance for rapid transit – so yes spartikus is right, 800m or 1000 meter doesn’t matter too much: what matter is that at those distance of transit station, noone is willing to use it, and everyone gonna drive, like they defacto do at Hillcrest community centre which has been transformed into a vast parking lot.
        It is not to say other bus routes are not important but just less. By order of significance, then come bus 16 (and future potential Arbutus streetcar):
        bus 16 is 800m of Connaught community center. so way too far…
        Ironically it passes right in front of the Kerrisdale pool, which will be also serviced by a future B line in addition of the bus 41: In the heart of a fairly dense neighborhood, and able to contribute to street life. It is already for that a better candidate to be upgraded as a “city wide facility”
        bus 22 is closer to Connaught park, but why walk ~600m to a nice new facility, when on the same bus route you have Kitsilano beach in the summer, and the Vancouver Aquatic centre all year around which will be even nicer?
        Conclusion, only the “local” bus 9 and 14 make the the “city wide destination pool” accessible by Transit, so that one has to expect that this facility will be mostly accessed by car, transforming an once neighborhood park used only by local into a vast parking lot to accommodate the “city wide customer base”, so doing repeating the terrible mistake done at Hillcrest,…and no the bike lane will not change the picture, even if that is welcome (and one has to remember, that in city with significant bike modal split such has Amsterdam or Copenhagen, the median commute distance is below 3km…that is good for a local destination, not a “city wide” one)
        The park board report doesn’t justify the Connaught park location choice, but if you want a “city wide destination pool”, that is accessible by most of the Vancouver resident, and this in the respect of the transport 2040 objective, that is in priority walk,bike and transit, then Connaught park is a very bad choice.
        A much better location could be in the densifying Mount Pleasant neighborhood which is much severely lacking such a facility which could in this neighborhood be well patronized all day long 7 days a week, due to the high concentration of job of central broadway
        Jonathan Rogers park in partcular is a much better candidate than Connaught park and it is not the only better location…

        1. ^ Agreed. Plus a “destination pool” in Mount Pleasant or Kerrisdale would be just a couple blocks away from rapid transit (the M-Line extension or Arbutus streetcar, respectively); if you don’t already live in Kitsilano, Connaught is practically the middle of nowhere.

        2. Voony, your chart references walking distances to bus stops. This is important considering the Number 9 on Broadway. However, people do tend to be willing to walk further for rapid transit or express bus service due to the greater transit range and service efficiency. It’s 1.5 km (almost 20 minutes) for me to walk to King Edward Station but I’m willing to do it because downtown, Richmond and the airport are so much more accessible. I will not walk 20 minutes for an ordinary bus.
          I redid my VanMap measuring tool exercise and arrived at ~800 m from the centre of the Arbutus x Broadway intersection to 10th x Larch, the beginning of the block where all these amenities are located, or ~890 m to mid-block on Larch near the centre of the complex. These distances are certainly within the desirable range from a highly efficient rapid transit service, and most (if not all) the route is universally accessible.
          I sincerely believe the catchment area for the Broadway subway will extend one km or more from the stations. The catchment for buses seem to peter out at about 400 m and is negligible beyond that.

        3. Depends on where you live, Alex. Connaught is a 20-minute walk from home, so no problem on a clear day, but it’s pretty easy to make excuses to not go if it’s dark at 4pm and/or raining.
          That goes twice as much for “residents from across the city” that this pool is trying to attract. If a family near (let’s say) Rupert Station has to walk 15 minutes to the SkyTrain, ride for 15-20, THEN walk another 10-15 minutes to Kitsilano Community Centre – not counting the return trip – then the damn pool had better be worth it. If it isn’t, they might as well take the bus to Britannia or Templeton.

        4. Alex, I have mentioned “double the distance for rapid transit”,
          and still that make only 20% of transit user are willing to walk up to 800m to a rapid transit station (Montreal subway statistic and many other)
          …and notice that the graph is for “origin(Home) to the station”….
          Justin raised an important point, how people are willing to walk more to reach the destination?
          there is little study on it …but for sure not too much:
          Calgary LRT : home->to LRT, average walk is 650 m (catchment area 850m)
          but LRT -> to work , it get down to 326 m and virtually no one walk more than 400m.
          (citing Sullivan: Walking Distances to and from Light-Rail Transit Stations)
          Similar number had been obtained in a previous study (1982) and in Toronto (1967), and there people walking to work were walking 1.2km. (citing Seneviratne “Acceptable Walking Distances in Central Areas”).
          Similarly…YVR, SFO, DCA,… have ~20 to 25% of customer accessing by transit…
          airport where the rail station is not in direct connection with the terminals, such as SEA (~400m walk) don’t get much better than 10% of patron arriving by transit.
          The point is that the 800m radius is defined assuming people have direct access to the destination and it is exactly what you admit too:
          you are willing to walk great distance to the canada line, because it goes right into downtown and the airport: what happens if this line was stopping 1km short of those destinations?
          Who knows?…and that is exactly the case of Connaught park.
          If we refers to the Hillcrest precedent, we can conclude virtually no one gonna come by transit, and everyone gonna drive!
          for sure, if the question of pool access (by other means than car) was high in the mind of the VPB, they could have leaded a survey to get the mode split fro Hillcrest in order to allow the public and commissioners to get at least a benchmark to make an informed opinion,…but this simple and crucial information seems missing.
          Now the board gonna decide on a ~$100 million pool with absolutely no idea of what could be the transportation need to get get there!

        5. Good points, Voony. I am basing my willingness to walk 1.5 km on the mild Vancouver weather which has the effect to extend one’s range compared to, say Calgary where I grew up, and where I know that walking even less than a km in minus 25 weather would be very unpleasant. As for the destination, If frequently walk more than a km when there, It’s a big place. But the airport is hit dead centre by the Canada Line, so that’s not an issue there unless you are working at a south airport industry that is quite far from the stations.

  3. While I think the point on Hillcrest and the library is valid because I used the old library on Main St and would have preferred it to stay as a public storefront. However, some Olympic money was involved and the city took advantage of that and rebuilt the old inadequate and crumbling Riley Park pool and library in one complex in part for building capital and operating cost savings. Both facilities are vastly superior to their very worn predecessors.
    Further, I don’t think you can compare Connaught to Hillcrest on transportation. There will be a subway station (unfortunately, the temporarily permanent terminus) at Arbutus less than 700 m away (7 minute walk). The B-Line currently stops less than 300 m away (3 minute walk) on McDonald. You do not have this transit proximity to Hillcrest even with the Canada Line King Edward Station, and with the Main St trolley, though the latter is still viable at a lower level of service.
    It makes sense from the city’s view to cluster high-cost facilities together from the above perspective, and also especially in the Arbutus Station precinct because the density is bound to increase with the advent of rapid transit. Keep in mind this site is abutted on the south by an ultra-expensive large lot neighbourhood ripe for some gentle density. Perhaps that is the real issue with the Connaught area.
    Queue the outrage.

  4. ” ‘Not in My Back Yard” and “Yes in My Back Yard” factions for higher residential density require good public process, mutual consensus and clearly shared development objectives.”
    I think you should post an article in greater detail arguing for the claim that shelter should be subject to, not just to the majority rule standard of most things, but outright consensus and shared objectives.
    I’m sure it would generate lively discussion.

  5. I was involved with the design of a new combined community centre and pool complex in another Metro city that also dovetailed with the redevelopment of a large adjacent park. When we wrote the RFP for the building I called around to other pool facilities to get a sense of their annual energy bill. Heating several million litres of water for a pool is Big Bucks, even with today’s low natural gas prices. Who can predict what the cost of gas will be over the 35-60-year life of the building, other than likely a lot higher than today with the risk of resource depletion and switching out the HVAC and mechanical systems entirely? In part due to this long-term outlook, the growing town centre that surrounds it, and because there was to be a combined recreation and community centre with the pool in one complex, I recommended a LEEDs Gold (or equivalent) standard in order to save money on energy costs over time. I also recommended that a section of roof be reserved for solar HW (90% efficient in summer, 50% in winter) and that a patch of land in the neighbouring park be set aside for geothermal wells to take advantage of the free heat contained in the earth. That was Phase One and the work was awarded to Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden Architects (now Dialog). Working with Bruce Haden was a pleasure during my limited involvement.
    Concurrent to this, we also realized that the bylaw parking requirements (which are overly generous in my view) would require a second underground level at $55,000 a stall, or $15,000 more than the cost of the proposed single-floor parking level set just below grade on the downhill side and cut into the slope. Pools effectively block out large single-use footprints from the site because parking cannot be built under them. The recreation folks then started to demand that the green space be paved over, much to our consternation. So, we proposed to reconfigure the parallel parking on an adjacent street facing the park, therein gaining 39 additional parking spaces without touching the park or affecting the building cost. However, even with another satellite parking lot we were a bit short of the requirement, but it was close enough to overlook by the permit staff.
    Between the energy / LEEDs and parking issues, we figured we had a building with an affordable future energy and spatial profile. Unfortunately, Phase Two went to another firm with a corporate bottom line bent, and the city project managers took over and demanded that the LEEDs level be downgraded to silver or less, and be accompanied by major budget and floor area cuts. (The design also suffered in my opinion by taking on a corporate business park architecture, a distinct departure from the West Coast post a beam structure that rose up from the first phase.) This was distinctly penny wise and pound foolish, but it made the decision makers look good for being “under budget.” Not six years after construction all the cheap mechanical systems have been replaced, and the facility is overcrowded with an increasing demand from the growing neighbourhood. Once natural gas starts to inevitably increase in price the original decision makers and project managers will all be retired, and a younger management will be faced with major expenditures to retrofit the energy systems and expand the space.
    But the adjacent park looks and works great, mainly because it was responsive to the changing building program and high public demand, and has a 1,500 m2 public plaza acting as a transitional element. This was the perfect blend for programmed outdoor events.
    These are some of the reasons why I can see the Park Board wants to consider the amalgamation of larger facilities to obtain a critical mass and better balance between separate functions. By necessity theirs is a long-range view. Another reason is staffing. You can use less staff (or assign fewer hours) on a per patron basis while delivering as good or better service from a centralized facility with shared space and systems than several decentralized amenities. No matter what their size, pools are not cheap to build, to staff, to operate and to maintain. Combined with other facilities, the cost can be distributed and somewhat mitigated.
    As for a “destination facility,” I don’t quite buy it. Once the Aquatic Pool (a 50 m facility) has undergone renovation, the sports swimmers will probably move back. Besides, UBC already has major swimming and other sports programs.

  6. Given that the Jericho Kands are being developed why not put something in Jericho Park on Fourth?
    And please Parks Board, don’t move the Aquatic Centre from Sunset Beach to some depressing location in the Granville Loops. Instead demolish the current monstrosity and build something open to the amazing location!!

    1. I used the Aquatic Centre for years and could never figure out why they allowed a bunker there with its back turned to the view. Given the population base of South Vancouver and the West End, walk-in traffic will never be a problem, especially if they built a new facility with windows and possibly a café.

        1. The Aquatic centre is is not transit friendly for those not living in the West End. If its replacement is above or below a skytrain station there will be little need for parking.

        2. The replacement won’t be next to a Skytrain station. Currently there is a bus, the bike path, sea wall and the False Creek Ferries.

      1. I agree. When I swim there in the winter sometimes the sun comes out and I can see it light up the skylights but it would be really nice to have a view of English Bay while I swim.

        1. (C O V owns land near Olympic village station . Its visionless politicians will probably locate the destination pool next to (or above) a huge parking lot instead

    2. Agree with Bob Tanner saying: “The Aquatic centre is is not transit friendly for those not living in the West End”
      (For Alex: The false creek ferry goes to Granville island, then a 600m to a low frequency bus 50 doesn’t fit exactly the definition of “transit friendly”.
      We could add that the actual location could be put to a better use able to better accommodate the Seal wall user needs.
      Another location, not necessarily on the downtown peninsula, but in direct connection with it, and still well accessed by rapid transit from the rest of Vancouver could be much better…that again point to Mount Pleasant, and the land near Olympic village sounds effectively a good candidate.
      regarding colocating the pool with a subway station: that has exactly been done in Paris:
      (it is underground at the Halles station, and have light well): so overall a good idea …which doesn’t need parking!

      1. When I lived in False Creek I walked everywhere, including to the FC Ferry stop on GI then across either to Hornby or Thurlow adjacent to the AC. You are technically correct re: the #50, but walking the 800 m to our apartment building from the ferries was not an issue.

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