The Vancouver Park Board is exploring the possibility of proceeding with a pop-up swimming pool project by next summer as part of a plan to grow the number of outdoor pools found in the city.
Each temporary pool is estimated to cost between $1 million to $2 million, depending on the level and quality of amenities, and can accommodate as many as several hundred people at any time. Such a plan brings seasonal moveable swimming pools to neighbourhoods in a more economical way, and it could be modelled after pop-up pools in Brooklyn and Philadelphia which also have beach furniture, umbrellas, concrete decks, and change rooms.
“It’s a faster, quicker way to deliver a pool than a traditional in-ground outdoor design,” Park Board commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung told Daily Hive. “So it’s a way to get summer fun happening, getting more people splashing more quickly and at less cost.”
It is anticipated that the first pop-up pool will be ready for the summer 2017 season.
The Park Board is also exploring a suitable neighbourhood currently without an outdoor pool for the first pop-up location. Additionally, it is considering options for new permanent outdoor pools, such as natural swimming pools that use plants from an adjacent pond to treat the water rather than chlorine.
In Minneapolis, the 21,000-square-foot Webber Natural Swimming Pool opened in summer 2015 at a cost of $7 million and is the first public swimming facility in North America to use plants to maintain a healthy water quality. An attached basin, dubbed the ‘regeneration pool’, has more than 7,000 plants that filter the pool’s water.
There are just five public outdoor pools in Vancouver for a population of 600,000 people, fewer than other Canadian cities. Calgary has eight outdoor pools, Ottawa has nine, Toronto has 57, and Montreal has 74. These cities also have far more indoor pools than Vancouver, which only has nine public indoor pools compared to Calgary’s 14, Ottawa’s 21, Toronto’s 65, and Montreal’s 48.
Six of Vancouver’s indoor pools are between 40 to 60 years old. Major changes likely will not happen for a few more years, until after the Park Board completes a thorough public consultation process on City-owned swimming pools, which will consider the feasibility of innovative ideas such as HCMA Architecture + Design’s outdoor swimming deck at Coal Harbour.
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