Victoria ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons has invited Victoria councillors to join her in an ocean swim next month to experience what swimming “will be like for ordinary Victorians” if Crystal Pool is shut down. (Photo Courtesy of Corey Teramura)

Ocean swim challenge shines spotlight on Crystal Pool plight

Ultra-marathon swimmer sends tongue-in-cheek invite to Victoria council

A Victoria marathon swimmer has challenged Victoria councillors to a long-distance swim in the ocean so they can “experience what it will be like for ordinary Victorians to swim if Crystal Pool shuts down.”

Susan Simmons, known for a number of open water swims in Greater Victoria and for overcoming multiple sclerosis (MS) to achieve ultra-marathon swim achievements, has made her position on Crystal Pool crystal clear.

RELATED: Victoria city staff start from square one on Crystal Pool project

She has made a tongue-in-cheek request to councillors to join her Dec. 1 and take a dip in the ocean at Ogden Point to experience swimming without a community pool.

“Replacing this vital community pool – used mainly by ordinary members of the community – is once again at a standstill as council debates – again – the design of the pool,” says Simmons in a statement. “At this rate, there will be another election before anything is decided, and we’ll be without a community swimming facility well beyond 2024 – if it ever gets built.”

Reports on the aging pool say its systems are degrading, and for a number of years, the questions of where and how to replace the facility have been a topic of discussion for city council and neighbourhood groups in the area.

In responding to the concerns of nearby residents, council has changed its mind on the design and location of a replacement pool several times, losing funding in the process.

RELATED: Victoria council revisits Crystal Pool replacement project

“There has been extensive community engagement and we are now back to square one,” Simmons says. “I can’t stress how important this issue is. Most of the people who use the pool are community swimmers who swim with local clubs to stay healthy. They are not high-performance athletes as some may think.”



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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