The Belmont Beach and Aquatics Center project was approved by the City Council with a 9-0 vote on Tuesday night, Feb. 4.
“We’re excited about the project and we feel that the process worked,” said Christopher Koontz, appointed Long Beach Development Services Planning Bureau manager. “There was a prior approval for the pool, replacing the pool that has been there for many decades, and there was this prior design and prior approval and we think that design was good, but by going back and working with all of the stakeholders, the final design […] was even better,” he said.
The updated information has been submitted to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) for final consideration.
“Because the project is adjacent to the water, it’s in the Coastal Commission purview to have the final say on the project,” Koontz said. “They’re going to review the project […] and they’ll make recommendations.”
Koontz stated that the CCC will have a hearing on the project, which will most likely take place in April or May and reach a final decision.
According to the project’s history, which can be found online, the Department of Public Works revised the design to address the CCC’s concerns.
“We were able to address a lot of concerns,” Koontz said, in reference to questions raised by community members relating to sea-level rise.
“I know people were concerned with sea-level rise and it wasn’t maybe clear to everyone that we took that very seriously and took that into account,” the planning bureau manager said. “We moved the pool further away from the surf line, we moved the orientation of the building so that it is more of a straight line so that more of the pool itself is away from the surf.”
Additionally, concerns the city council had related to the project’s cost were also addressed.
“We were able to do that while still having a beautiful building that serves public needs and really increasing the amount of recreation space […],” Koontz said. “It has been a very long process, but it has been worth that time because the end result was a positive one.”
The project, which is estimated to cost $85 million, will be funded through the City’s Tidelands Fund. However, the City currently has $61.5 million in funds allocated to the project and has started a fundraising effort “to offer opportunities for private sponsorships and or donations to help fund the project,” according to the Belmont Pool website.
The facility will feature outdoor pools accompanied with space for temporary seating, changing rooms and wet classrooms, administrative space and an outdoor park/ plazas for gathering.
The 50 meter pool will feature a movable floor that will lay out a deep and shallow water area. The existing temporary pool will be converted into a permanent pool with a movable bulkhead and will include new restrooms and showers.
The facility will count with 1,865 permanent seating. 1,555 of those seats will be at the new 50 meter pool while 310 of those seats already exist at the temporary pool being converted.
Project construction is projected through winter 2023 if the project is approved.