Kitsilano pool may not reopen this summer, as repairs from destructive January storm continue

The cost of repairing extensive damage from a severe winter storm and high tide that lashed Vancouver’s shoreline in January is expected to potentially be in the millions, and the park board plans to look for funding support to help with the costs.

While a section of the Stanley Park seawall is expected to reopen in the coming weeks, another popular local attraction is still facing a lot more work – and may not even be able to reopen this summer, according to the park board.

Normally, the Kitsilano pool would be welcoming swimmers back later in May. However, due to lingering storm damage, the park board’s director of recreation Steve Kellock said that reopening will have to wait.

“We also see this as a really disappointing event,” he said. “We recognize that Kitsilano pool is beloved.”

It’s just one of the areas that was battered by high waves and debris on Jan. 7. The storm also caused parts of the Stanley Park seawall to collapse, and hurled logs into the Jericho pier, leaving serious damage.

Park development manager Ian Stewart has referred to the destructive weather event as a “perfect storm.”

“We had a king tide, high winds, and then there were very strong waves,” he said. “We have about 22 kilometers of beach and seawall that have been affected.”

The damaged areas stretch from Spanish Banks to Prospect Point in Stanley Park.

At the saltwater pool in Kitsilano, which is structurally connected to the seawall, cracks have been found in the basin. Second Beach and New Brighton pools will be opening for longer hours to compensate, but it’s unclear when the popular site will be able to reopen at this point.

“We’ve got structural and geotechnical engineers that are taking a look at the full extent of the damage,” Kellock said. “We’re looking at about a six to eight week analysis.”

Meanwhile a badly damaged section of the seawall between Third Beach and the Lions Gate bridge is now on track to reopen by the end of April.

An earlier storm that hit in November and brought mass flooding may also have played a role in the January damage.

“We do believe there was a significant amount of debris in the water that we don’t typically see,” Stewart said. “That certainly may have been a result of that atmospheric event.”

At a meeting Monday night, park board staff said over a thousand salvageable logs had been removed from local beaches.

While assessment work and repairs are ongoing, preliminary cost estimates are in the millions: approximately 1.5 million for the seawall and shorelines, 20 million for the Jericho Pier, and half a million to repair the Vanier park dock. The cost to fix the pool has yet to be determined

“We don’t know the full extent of the costs at this time,” Stewart said. “The numbers are still coming in, and it certainly will be a challenge.”

Stewart said the park board will be looking at its insurance, as well as potential federal and provincial funding support along with possible contingency funding to help make a dent in repairing the damage.

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