Thirteen years after closing, a new outdoor pool may be built in Mount Pleasant Park—but not everyone wants to take the plunge.
Signs reading “Save Mount Pleasant Park Stop the Pool” appeared in the neighbourhood on Monday, May 9, with a call to action to join the associated Facebook group in opposition to the facility.
Sabrina Toor serves as the admin of the page and hopes to save the area slotted for said pool.
“The loss of green space doesn’t make sense for something that is only open 100 days a year at the most,” Toor says. “Mount Pleasant is the most vibrant park I’ve ever been to. It’s a cool 365-day vibe.”
Aside from affecting their beloved gathering place, Toor and others say the addition of a pool to the park comes at a cost to the environment. Fellow pool opponent Joleen Timko points to tree removal and the volume of concrete, chemicals and water required as detriments to climate change.
“Soil and trees are carbon sequesters,” Timko says “It’s taking something beautiful and turning it into something ugly.”
For pro-poolers in the community, the long-ago promise to rebuild the former facility supersedes preserving the park’s current layout. Advocates for the pool are hopeful the $15 million to $20 million needed for the build will be included in the 2023-2026 capital plan this July.
“We’ve spent years and years going to park board meetings, holding rallies, and creating petitions,” said Margery Duda, chair of Mount Pleasant Community Centre’s pool committee. “Now is the time for the city to deliver.”
The cause has been close to Duda’s heart ever since the original pool closed in 2009 but has taken on special significance following last summer’s heat wave and the recent closure of Kitsilano Pool for repairs.
“It’s essential in the urban core of our growing city—I really believe that has to happen,” says Duda.
Park board commissioner John Irwin agrees, adding that the soon-to-be-completed SkyTrain extension means increased density in the area.
“It’s a good idea to put facilities like this close to where there are a lot of people to serve,” he says. If approved as part of the capital plan, Irwin believes the pool could be designed and built within the next three years.
Yet, opposition mounts. A change.org petition has amassed over 350 signatures as of Thursday, May 12, and the group encourages Mount Pleasant residents to write directly to city officials.
So, dead in the water or smooth sailing ahead for Mount Pleasant Park pool? Only time can tell. Concerned citizens from either lane can give feedback on the issue until May 22, during the public engagement period for the draft capital plan. After that, it won’t be until July when the capital plan is finalized and a decision on funding the facility is made.