2 Vancouver pools saved after passionate fight

Two aging neighbourhood Vancouver pools are safe — for now.

'We listened to your feedback. The final #VanSplash report is now live with revised recommendations'

Swim instructor Robert Kuropatwa teaches an adult beginner class at Vancouver's Lord Byng pool. (Michelle Eliot, CBC )

Two aging neighbourhood Vancouver pools are safe — for now.

The Vancouver Park Board's final report and recommendations have been posted online ahead of a planned Dec. 11 meeting, and after much outcry from locals, the plan is to keep Lord Byng and Templeton Pools.

It goes to a vote next week, but it's expected to pass.

The two aging pools were slated to be destroyed and replaced by larger pools as part of a 10-year plan to move away from small-scale neighbourhood pools.

City staff had recommended replacing both the Templeton and Britannia pool with one larger pool on the Britannia site.

Lord Byng was set to be closed down after the construction of a new larger pool at Connaught Park.

But west side pool lovers rallied their Point Grey neighbourhood to save the local pool, joining together at a local auditorium to sing and rally against the park board's VanSplash Aquatics strategy.

Older users said they preferred a more intimate pool, not the monster recreation centres most suburbs now build.

Pool users in both neighbourhoods gathered thousands of signatures and letters to preserve the smaller pools for their communities.

Now, the plan is to review the impact on the Lord Byng pool, once the Connaught pool is built and operating.

"I'm happy," said Janice Manfron who works at the Hastings Community Centre and helped co-ordinate a community push against the destruction of the pools that swim clubs had used for 30 years.

She said people who use the pool and its building were very protective of the beloved centrepoint to their community, and feared what would become of the land if the pool were decommissioned.

"The passion is a lot of people use this pool daily and it's within walking distanced. It's smaller. Many say it's very clean. They feel comfortable there and a sense of belonging."

But she says people know that the older small pools won't survive in the future.

Even though it looks like plans have changed and the pool will remain open, they know the park board might be forced to close them in the future.

"I think we're very aware that it could come up again," said Manfron.

The campaign to save Lord Byng Pool in Vancouver includes pins, T-shirts and petitions. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)