Skip to content

$14M needed to renew aging, leaking, 'end of life' outdoor pools in Burnaby

Burnaby is in the middle of creating a 25-year plan for its outdoor pools, wading pools and spray parks.

Three of Burnaby's four outdoor pools are at “end of life” and need a total of $14.15 million over the next five years for repairs.

The four pools, all built in the 1960s, each require between $2.8 million and $5 million in the next five years, according to city parks and recreation director Rebecca Thandi.

Most of the money would be used to refurbish the pool tanks which have gone through “many years of freeze-and-thaw cycles,” Thandi told the parks and rec committee June 11.

All the outdoor pools need accessibility and sustainability upgrades, Thandi said, and added most of the pools, based on their age, have inaccessible, leaking pipes underneath the pool tank.

The cost to renew the pools would likely only “extend the life somewhat,” she said.

Burnaby says its outdoor pools are nearing the end of their lifespan and are in need of millions of dollars in repairs. City of Burnaby

But, despite their age, the pools are beloved in Burnaby.

Pools were the most popular outdoor amenity in a survey done by the city last year.

Respondents said they mainly used the pools to cool down in hot weather.

Drop-in swims were the favourite activity, with more than half of all the 112,292 swims in 2022 recreational “fun” swims.

Burnaby's outdoor pools saw more than 112,000 swims in 2022. City of Burnaby

What's Burnaby's plan for outdoor swimming?

City staff are about halfway through creating a 25-year strategy to address Burnaby residents’ outdoor aquatics needs.

Thandi said Burnaby isn’t alone, as many outdoor pools in the Lower Mainland were built in the same time period and many municipalities are now deciding whether to keep their outdoor pools, modify them or get rid of them.

The city’s strategy won’t just look at swimming pools either; it will also plan for its nine wading pools (all built in 1965) and 10 spray parks.

Committee member Rainy Kent said she was surprised wading pools are still allowed in Burnaby, considering they’re filled up and drained each day, and suggested converting them all into spray parks.

Aldergrove Community Centre features the 'Outdoor Experience' with a lazy river, wave pool and waterslides. Township of Langley

Thandi said many municipalities are moving to hybrid facilities, such as the Aldergrove Outdoor Experience, that are open year-round with features that close in the offseason.

Staff are interested in ideas like NinjaCross (a retractable obstacle course that hangs over a pool) or slides to attract young people and make water activities less intimidating.

Staff will bring forward the draft strategy in July; the final plan is expected in November.