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'It's disgusting': Vancouver community outraged by closure of Kitsilano Pool

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After the Vancouver Park Board announced it won't reopen the Kitsilano Pool this summer, the community is expressing outrage and a distrust in the city's promises.

The summer hotspot has been closed for two years, with taxpayers pouring millions of dollars into repairing the site, but some are questioning whether it can be fixed.

"The damage is quite substantial, so the question is – if people want to have a pool down at kits beach – the question really has to be about replacement," said Aaron Jasper, a former chair of the park board.

"Doing all this repair work is really good money after bad."

Jasper added that during his time on the park board, the responsibility of maintaining outdoor recreation areas, including pools, was shifted to the City of Vancouver.

“The park board decided to hand over the maintenance of our pools and our community centres to the City of Vancouver. So, the City of Vancouver has been in charge of maintaining all of our recreational infrastructure for the last 10 years,” he said.

James Goodman has lived in the neighbourhood for over 40 years. He says it's “disgusting” that the city has not been keeping its promises.

“They haven’t been on top of this. They know about it and they didn’t fix it. They can build the bike lanes, we can have soccer, but they can’t build a pool," said Goodman.

The city says it plans to repair the pool in time for next summer.

“I have no confidence in this city whatsoever. It’s absolutely a shame. Now, they are just going to take a whole summer to look at it, think about it, and figure out what they should do," said Goodman.

City Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung is pointing fingers at the park board for the delay, despite the city being in charge of maintenance.

"We did not get a request from the park board for this work and this has been done through leadership from city staff. This is a good example as why we are working to make changes so we can streamline that," she said.

Not only are taxpayers on the hook for any repair costs, but the city is also losing revenue with the pool closed. Every year, the pool sees an average of 135,000 users.

For the city, the plan is to temporarily repair the pool rather than rebuild it, in order to save costs.

"It's going to be an expensive proposition to do that, it's a major capital project. What we are going to do is try to keep the existing pool shored up to extend that life in the meantime,” said Kirby-Yung.

Repairs made during the off-season haven't been able to solve some of the facility's persistent problems, including the fact that it is leaking a significant amount of water, the board said in a statement Wednesday.

The park board initially said that Kits Pool would open on May 18 of this year, along with two other outdoor facilities. As the opening date approached, the board pushed it back, saying more time was needed to attend to "unforeseen repairs."

Due to the closure, hours at Second Beach Pool will be extended starting June 12.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Lisa Steacy 

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