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Vancouver mayor pitches making Kits Pool a 'priority' for corporate sponsorship

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Corporate sponsorship and a fundraising drive are two ideas being pitched by Vancouver's mayor for raising the money needed to replace Kitsilano Pool.

The popular pool has been shuttered for the summer season for repairs but at 50 years old, it has reached what the park board describes as the end of its service life.

Ken Sim and Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung are bringing a motion next week asking that "council affirm the value of the iconic Kitsilano Outdoor Pool by committing to an urgent process to reimagine and replace the pool as a priority action for this council."

The motion notes that off-season repairs were not sufficient to address the pool's many issues – including the fact that it was leaking an enormous amount of water. While a short-term fix might be achieved over the summer, the motion suggests it is time to "plan for and fund the replacement of Kits Pool with a new, modernized outdoor aquatics facility that is more resilient to climate change, storm, and storm impacts."

“We want to get the pool up and running as soon as possible, but we don’t know when yet,” Kirby-Yung said in an interview with CTV News. “Losing Kits pool is not an option."

Among the things a "reimagined" Kits Pool might feature are "additional aquatics amenities" like whirlpools and steam baths, the motion says.

In addition to asking city staff to work with the park board to develop plans for a new pool as well as to identify government funding sources, the motion includes looking at how the private sector can help fund the replacement of the civic facility.

Establishing and publicizing a dedicated fund "for the public, corporate and philanthropic sectors to contribute and donate" is one.

Corporate sponsorship is the other, with the motion asking for the park board to include Kits Pool in the "civic asset sponsorship work currently underway" and to identify it as a "prime, priority sponsorship opportunity."

“Any contributions, whether it's through sponsorship or donations, would absolutely help to expedite the replacement of this pool,” Kirby-Yung said. “We have a lot of infrastructure and requirement demands in this city, a lot of aging infrastructure. We’re going to do our best to prioritize it in the city’s Capital Plan, but if people want to contribute that would be fantastic, too.”

The ABC councillor said the motion would direct city staff to figure out just how much money will be required to repair and replace the iconic Vancouver attraction.

The motion is on the agenda for Wednesday, June 26.

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