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Kits pool, thought to be closed all summer, now scheduled to reopen Aug. 7, mayor says


Vancouver's beloved Kitsilano Pool will be open to the public this summer after all, according to Mayor Ken Sim.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, which manages the facility, had previously said it would be closed for summer.

At a news conference Friday, Sim said the beachside, saltwater pool will open Aug. 7, as long as there are no major setbacks to repair efforts.

"Kits pool is not just a pool," Sim said. "It is literally the most iconic pool on the planet. There is nothing like it."

The mayor attributed the change of course on reopening the pool to the "no-quit, can-do" attitude of the city and its staff.

"We are not going to take no for an answer," he said, describing his mentality when he received the news about the pool closure last month.

Sim said the city contacted local engineer Jeff Stibbard, who agreed to take a look at the Kits pool situation on a pro-bono basis. Stibbard was also involved in the repair and reopening of the Stanley Park train last year.

Repair work on the pool is being completed by Scott Construction. It's expected to cost about $3 million, and should provide two more summers of useful life for the pool, according to Sim.

That additional time will help the city plan a replacement for the pool, which city councillors committed to making a priority in a motion adopted unanimously late last month.

The motion came in response to the park board's announcement that Kits pool would not be opening this summer, given that off-season repairs were unable to stop it from leaking a significant amount of water.

A report to the park board in December of 2023 estimated the pool was leaking 30,000 litres of water every hour. Significant water leakage means the pool's chemicals can’t be balanced, according to the park board, which makes the pool unsafe for swimmers.

Sim wasn't able to provide specifics about what had changed to make repairing the pool for this summer viable. A city supervisor who spoke at the news conference said crews were prioritizing "critical repairs" that would allow the pool to reopen.

The mayor also noted that the expense of repairing and eventually replacing the pool can be offset by financial support from residents, businesses and others who he said "reached out in droves" when they heard the pool would have to close.

"We are going to lever off of the community involvement and their willingness to participate in this and help us fund an even better Kits pool going forward," Sim said.

City council's motion, brought forward by Sim and Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung, directed city staff to work with the park board to develop plans for a new pool and identify government funding sources.

It also asked staff to look beyond the public purse and consider establishing and publicizing a dedicated fund "for the public, corporate and philanthropic sectors to contribute and donate" to replace Kits pool.

Corporate sponsorship was another option suggested in the motion, and has been part of a push by Sim and his ABC Vancouver party to add to the city's infrastructure budget by selling naming rights to city assets.

Vancouver has already announced a deal for Freedom Mobile to have the naming rights to the new PNE amphitheatre when it opens in 2026. The value of that sponsorship deal has not been made public.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Ben Nesbit Top Stories

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