07/06/2012 11:51 EDT | Updated 09/05/2012 05:12 EDT

Reduce chlorine use in pools, says Vancouver park commissioner

A Vancouver Park Board commissioner wants to limit the amount of chlorine in public pools by adding secondary disinfection systems that use chemical-free technologies.

Commissioner Trevor Loke has introduced a motion to cap chlorine in the pools at 1.5 parts per million — three times the minimum level required by the B.C. Health Act — and install ozone or ultra-violet technology to make sure the pools continue to be properly sanitized.

Loke says excessive chlorine levels are linked to respiratory problems including broncitis, asthma-like symptoms, coughing, and irritation of eyes and skin.

"I think ultimately a lot of people that I have spoken to say that they just can't swim in public pools because there is too much chlorine ... At the same time when I speak to people that I know, that know about the chemistry of pools, they say that chlorine is sort of a necessary evil in many ways," he says.

Loke says adding secondary systems to help to disinfect the pools would cost more up front, but would likely save money by reducing spending on chlorine in the long run.

A similar system is already in place at the Hillcrest Community Centre. The city operates nine indoor and five outdoor pools.