The City of Vancouver has announced that one of its most popular summer recreation spots, Kitsilano Pool, is reopening Saturday (July 30), just in time for the August long weekend and in the middle of the year's most intense heat wave.
The pool, an institution in the city since its 1931 opening, was severely damaged by a storm on January 7, 2022.
A so-called king tide, storm surge, and winds of up to 70 kilometres per hour caused huge waves to pound and flood the structure, based on the English Bay shoreline near Vanier Park.
The waves and flooding caused cracks in the deck floor and lifter deck panels. Repairs and scheduled maintenance required stretches of good weather, and the park board said on April 12 that the pool might not be available for the opening of this year's swimming season.
The park board opened both Stanley Park's pool at Second Beach and the East End's New Brighton Pool early this year to cope with an expected increase in swimmers.
However, the city announced limitations to pool hours and activities for the long weekend itself. Online reservations will be required to guarantee entry during any of the four daily scheduled public-swim sessions.
Daily calculations based on the availability of lifeguards will determine the number of people allowed in the pool. Drop-ins are allowed but not guaranteed a spot in line.
Holders of Flexipass, a 10-visit pass, or the Leisure Access Pass are asked to reserve sessions onlne; drop-ins will still have to purchase an entry pass.
"Not unlike other municipalities in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver is experiencing a staffing shortage and we are working diligently to find immediate and long-term solutions," the city said in a July 26 bulletin announcing the long-weekend opening.
"Although Kits Pool may appear to have space for those waiting in line, capacity for pools is not based on the size of the facility itself," the release continued. "Each location in Vancouver has re-evaluated its total capacity for the number of people allowed in a pool at any given time based on a visitor-to-lifeguard ratio.
"We ask all pool visitors to be patient as we navigate this late-season reopening."
Length swimming will not be allowed during the long weekend (length swimmers are asked to use Second Beach Pool instead).
According to the release, public-swimming sessions for the weekend will be as follows, for all three days:
- 9:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
- 12:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- 3 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
- 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
For regular hours of operation from August 2 to September 5 for Kits, Second Beach, and New Brighton pools, go here.
The park board's Dave Hutch, director of park planning and development, said in an April 27 release that the kind of storm that caused the pool damage are a "wake-up call".
“Climate change is making storm events like those in November 2021 [which, famously, grounded a marine barge against the shore of False Creek] and January 2022 more frequent and severe," Hutch said. "This extreme weather was another 'wake-up call' on climate change and a look into a future of increased sea level and changing coastlines.
"The Park Board will be initiating conversations with residents about how we should plan for this uncertain future and how our waterfront parks, the seawall, and beaches will adapt to our changing climate,” Hutch continued. “We will need to ask ourselves what we value about our waterfronts and how we can coexist in a world of increasing sea levels and more extreme weather.”