The design for the new Crystal Pool is just about finished. The city just has to figure out where to dig the hole.
Painfully aware of past accusations of inadequate consultation on big projects, Victoria city councillors are trying to put a lid on simmering outrage before it boils over.
Casual users of the pool might not realize that the grass and trees around the building are not just its backyard. They are Central Park, a green space that is important to residents of the surrounding North Park neighbourhood.
A vocal group of those neighbours says the city didn’t pay enough attention to Central Park when it was examining the options for replacing the pool. They don’t want their park wrecked and the space shrunk by the new building and its parking lot.
Mayor Lisa Helps acknowledges the city was too fixated on the pool, and has to do a better job of consulting so it has “social licence” for the project. While the term should be retired, the neighbours do deserve a hearing.
In that spirit, the city is going to spend the next two months studying the implications of putting a new pool beside the existing facility, on the existing pool site, on the parking lot beside the Victoria Curling Club or on the Royal Athletic Park parking lot.
Those options wouldn’t require a new design and the delay apparently wouldn’t affect funding from the provincial and federal governments.
Listening to the neighbours might be more than good public relations. It might lead to a better Crystal Pool.