31 July 2019

VanSplash strategy advisory group report: “Vancouver needs more pools”

Vancouver Park Board
News Release
July 31, 2019 

At a special Vancouver Park Board meeting last night, Commissioners received a feedback report on the draft VanSplash Aquatic Strategy outlining a vision for the future of aquatics in Vancouver. 

The report was produced by the VanSplash Advisory Group, which was appointed by the Board in late 2018 in order to review the draft VanSplash strategy and provide comments and insights to inform a revised draft strategy.

During the initial VanSplash engagement process in 2017 and 2018, staff heard from more than 7,000 residents at open houses, meetings, and through surveys. The advisory group was assembled to provide an enhanced, city-wide perspective on the diverse range of aquatic facilities and services.

The advisory group is made up of 19 individuals who responded to a call for applications. An independent facilitation consultant short-listed the applicants and the Board appointed members. The advisory group represents a wide range of backgrounds and interests in aquatics, and members are from every corner of Vancouver. The group met nine times over six months, facilitated by the neutral third-party facilitator.

“The Board was pleased to hear the comments and recommendations of the advisory group,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “Their passion for aquatics is evident and we look forward to a well-informed revised draft VanSplash strategy later this fall. On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank every member of the advisory group for their time and valuable perspective.”
The findings of the advisory group will be used to refine the final draft VanSplash Aquatic Strategy that will be presented at a public meeting to the Board this fall for their consideration and decision.

The revised draft VanSplash Aquatic Strategy will set the foundation for renewal and capital investment of the city’s pools, beaches and spray parks over the next 10 years. The vision for the draft VanSplash is to deliver a wide range of aquatic experiences for residents and visitors that support Vancouver as a highly-livable, world-class coastal city.


VanSplash Advisory Group:
  • The VanSplash Advisory Group was comprised of 19 Vancouver residents, each with a unique connection to aquatics
  • ·Interested residents responded to a call for volunteers in November 2018
  • · 256 people applied and an independent facilitation consultant short-listed the applicants to ensure a diverse range of interests, perspectives, backgrounds and locations within the city.
  • · The Board appointed 20 members to the advisory group
  • · The group met nine times over six months
  • · Members included aquatic sport coaches, parents of children in swim lessons, people living with disabilities, aquatics advocates, former competitive athletes, recreational aquatics users, ocean swimmers, and a range of other perspectives and group affiliations.

Aquatics by the numbers:
  • · The Park Board manages nine indoor pools, five outdoor pools,and 11 swimming beaches, and care for 17 wading pools, 15 spray parks, and one fresh water lake.
  • · The nine indoor pools had 2.4 million visits in 2015, while outdoor pools Kitsilano, Second Beach and New Brighton had about 450,000 visits in total last year.
  • · Eleven beaches and one lake provide supervised swimming to approximately five million visitors each year.
  • · Kitsilano is the largest saltwater pool in North America with 137 metres of seaside swimming.
  • · The newest aquatic facility in Vancouver is Hillcrest Centre which opened in 2010.
  • · In the last decade, Killarney and Renfrew pools were renovated and spray parks installed at Norquay, Prince Edward, Pandora, Carnarvon and Riley parks. 
  • · Six indoor pools are between 40-60 years old (Templeton, Kerrisdale, Lord Byng, Brittania, Vancouver Aquatic Centre and Kensington).

More information:  

Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board