Victoria’s Crystal Pool will open for a day of free activities on Family Day, courtesy of the city’s unionized workers.
CUPE Local 50 has offered to pick up all costs associated with opening the pool on Monday after the Times Colonist reported the pool would be bucking the tide in closing on B.C.’s new statutory holiday while all other recreation centres in the Capital Region were open.
“The reality is our members work there. It’s a community asset. It’s the first Family Day in the province and I think it’s important that that community facility is open on Family Day more than anything,” said John Burrows, CUPE Local 50 president.
“I just don’t understand how an amount of money would be the reason, essentially, to not have it open. I just think it’s important to have it open Family Day.”
The Crystal has been closed on statutory holidays for more than 15 years, primarily as a cost-saving measure.
Victoria parks and recreation director Kate Friars earlier estimated that with overtime rates it would cost more than $2,000 to staff Crystal Pool for eight hours on Monday while it might generate $500 to $750 in revenue.
Meanwhile, recreation centres in Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, the West Shore, Sooke and the Saanich Peninsula will be open on Monday and most will host special Family Day events.
After reading that, Burrows decided the union should step up and made the offer to city management.
The centre will be open for free activities between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m..
The pool will be open to all ages and three 25-metre lanes will be available for swimmers all day. The gym, waterslide and diving boards will be open and a fun leader will organize random games in the pool throughout the afternoon.
Burrows said that “absolutely” city workers will be paid in accordance with the collective agreement.
Coun. Lisa Helps and Mayor Dean Fortin both said it is great that the union stepped up.
“Thank you to CUPE for not only stepping forward but also for understanding the importance of family and the importance of a place in our cities for families to spend the day if they so choose,” Helps said.
“It’s great. It’s an offer that the city is excited to accept and we’re looking forward to it,” Fortin said. “We’re really excited that CUPE 50 has stepped up and offered to do this. It’s very exciting.”
Premier Christy Clark announced the new B.C. Day statutory holiday in May.
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