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Park board passes new rules for appropriate swimwear at Vancouver public pools

An undated photo shows Second Beach Pool in Vancouver. (Vancouver Park Board) An undated photo shows Second Beach Pool in Vancouver. (Vancouver Park Board)

There are now guidelines for what you can and can’t wear at public pools in Vancouver after the Park Board voted to approve a new policy Monday.

The policy aims to crack down on both inappropriate and unsafe swimwear at pools around the city. It comes after a recent uptick in complaints from aquatics staff about what people are wearing to public pools.

"There has been a gentleman known to arrive wearing a sock, and not on his foot,” park board commissioner Tom Digby told CTV News Sunday.

The policy defines appropriate swimwear as “what other Canadians find as an acceptable level of tolerance in a family public swimming environment that includes maintaining full and appropriate coverage of genitals.”

But other than that, pool visitors are “welcome to come as you are,” Digby said in an interview after the vote Monday.

He clarified that string bikinis and going topless are both fair game according to the policy, but some decisions will be at the discretion of specific pools.

“This is a super body-positive city. We want people to come to our pools and bring their whole game to our pools,” he said. “I think this is a very progressive motion, it’s also very family-friendly.”

There is an existing bylaw stating swimmers must be appropriately clothed at public pools, he explained, but this policy is aiming to be an updated set of rules for this day and age.

“We want all people to feel welcome, individuals and families,” Digby said. “There’s a certain balance we’re striking here between freedom of expression and the rights of people to feel comfortable where they are.”

Unacceptable swimming attire under the policy includes, but is not limited to:

• Items designed for sexual/intimate purposes

• Clothing which absorbs water and becomes heavy such as jeans or sweatpants

• Attire with long/flowing fabric that may limit movement or cause a safety risk

Examples of appropriate swimwear given are:

• bathing suit

• swim trunks, board shorts

• T-shirts, shorts

• burkini

• swim hijab, leggings and tunic

• rash guard

• wet suit

The new policy will be piloted for one year. Top Stories

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