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Vancouver mayor says 'iconic' Kitsilano Pool will reopen this summer

"It's literally the most iconic pool on the planet. There's nothing like it," said Sim.

Vancouver mayor Ken Sim is optimistic necessary repairs can be made to Kitsilano Pool in order to have the "iconic asset" open for summertime swims. 

On Friday (July 5) Sim announced the beloved city-run outdoor swimming pool will reopen on August 7, "pending no major setbacks."

After significant leaks and issues were found with the structure last year, concerns were raised again this spring about the viability of the pool in the short term. 

The most pressing issue is that the pool has a serious leaking issue. Last winter, inspectors found that while operational the pool spilled an estimated 30,000 litres of water every hour.

Crushed pipes, failing expansion joints, and cracking in the pool basin have been found.

Though initially projected to be fixed and back in operation at the end of spring, in June the city announced Kits Pool would remain closed for the duration of the summer. 

In the ensuing weeks, city council affirmed that allocating funding to not only get Kits Pool fixed in the short-term was a priority, but that also plans for the future of the pool were imperative. 

While many though Kits Pool's closure was a done deal for the summer of 2024, Sim says behind the scenes, city staff have a "can do" attitude and they had been approached "in droves" by locals offering to help in a variety of ways.

"We never gave up," said Sim. "We wanted to save the summer."

One offer was the engineering consultation services of Jeff Stibbart, who is providing his expertise pro bono for the City of Vancouver. 

Sim explained that by Stibbart offering his service at no cost the city can circumvent the usual lengthy amount of time it takes to award a contract. 

Further, Vancouver is continuing to pursue what Sim calls "innovative funding," which includes individual donations earmarked for specific projects as well as corporate donations and naming rights. 

Pursuing funding from the private and corporate sector means the city does not have to increase property taxes, Sim explained.

"We're dedicated to making Vancouver the best place to live, work, and play," said Sim.

Sim said that Kitsilano Pool is among the many reasons locals and visitors love Vancouver. 

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

Sim counts himself among the many Vancouverites with memories of spending summer days at the pool. 

In 2020, CNN Travel named Kits Pool one of the best places in the world for swimming. 

At 137 metres, Kitsilano Pool is North America's longest saltwater pool. Many pools are 25 metres, with Olympic-sized pools exactly 50 metres. This is well over double that, and longer than most fields of play.

Repairs are currently underway to extend the pool's lifespan by approximately two years while plans for a new facility are developed.

Sim says there is a "high probability" of the pool being open by August 7 as projected. 

"We're looking to make a splash at Kits Pool this summer."

With files from Brendan Kergin