Advocates want Victoria pool redevelopment to include refugee services


When Victoria’s aging Crystal Pool is finally replaced, some advocates are hoping refugee services will be part of the new facility.

Inter-Cultural Association of Victoria CEO Jean McRae says it makes sense for the pool to add services for newcomers because large numbers of them seem to be settling in the surrounding North Park neighbourhood, at least in their first few years in Canada.

“That’s where there’s apartments, that’s where there’s some reasonably priced housing,” McRae told All Points West host Jason D’Souza.

“There’s also a number of services in the area… the mosque is just a few blocks up from the Crystal Pool.”

Redevelopment of the old Crystal Pool has been a priority for Victoria.

It’s nearly 50 years old and the city says it is refining plans for a new pool and wellness centre that is budgeted to cost $69.4 million.

Classes and services

For refugees, the pool complex could be a place for language classes, settlement services, employment programs and mentoring, McRae said.

Her vision is for the pool to include a larger community centre and services centre along to serve multiple communities.

“It’s a real opportunity to help people keep their health … in good stead and also make community connections,” she said.

At a Thursday meeting, Victoria council voted to begin public consultation on redeveloping the parking lot adjacent to the pool for various community amenities.

Options include underground parking, affordable housing and a welcome centre for newcomers to Canada.

The city is hosting an open house for the project June 19.

Listen to the full interview:

Inter-Cultural Association of Victoria CEO Jean McRae says it makes sense for the pool to add services for vulnerable newcomers because large numbers of them seem to be settling down in the surrounding North Park neighbourhood. 6:48

With files from CBC Radio One’s All Points West



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