Starting this week, members of a committee considering plans for the new Aldergrove rec centre will get down to brass tacks.
After two open houses in November, the committee has heard from members of the public and collected dozens of comment sheets.
On Tuesday, Langley Township Councillor Bob Long said the committee will meet to talk and begin poring over the comments.
"Our task was to come back to council in January with a report," said Long.
One of the main issues to sort out at these meetings was to determine whether the community wanted the option of a more expensive, covered year-round pool, or a slightly cheaper pool with an outdoor lap pool.
"It looks like there's a great appetite for a fully covered pool," said Long.
The two options, for $34.8 million or $33.4 million each involve an indoor recreation pool, sauna, ice rink, meeting rooms, and a relocated library.
The cheaper of the two plans, which drew little to no support, Long said, would have a lap pool outside for summer months only, with six lanes in a park-like setting. This option would have more of a campus-style design.
The other option would have a six-lane indoor pool for use year-round. It would cost $1.5 million to operate per year, as opposed to $1 million for the cheaper plan.
Either version of the project will bring together the current ice rink, the library from the Aldergrove Kinsmen Centre, meeting rooms, and a pool. It will replace a number of existing facilities and bring them together on the site of the Aldergrove Elementary, a heritage structure.
The new building will be greener, using waste heat from the ice rink to help keep the pool warm.
The elementary school there has been closed for several years due to declining enrolment, and the Township purchased the property.
Long said the input so far has all been very positive, and with a willing council, he believes construction could be under-way by next year.
Once the committee has reported back to the council, Long said there will be a decision and design work can start on the final project.
However, there is one part of the project Long would like to see get off the ground early.
The Township has received a report that the existing Aldergrove Library is too small for its community.
The Aldergrove Elementary building would be the right size, and could be upgraded to a library before the rest of the facility is built, Long believes.
The old building is in need of some upgrades and repairs - it was considered as a site for the public hearings, but needed a bit of cleaning, Long said.
It will cost about $1.5 million just to renovate the old schoolhouse, which is almost a century old, Long said.
Part of that will be demolishing some of the newer additions to the heritage structure that were put up over the years.
Once the entire rec centre project is complete, it is expected to reshape down-town Aldergrove.
The core of the downtown has been designated for an ambitious plan of redevelopment, with some areas marked out for greater density, including possible high rises and many more units of condos and townhouses along Fraser Highway near 272nd Street.
However, since council approved the plan, there have not been any substantial plans unveiled by developers.
The rec centre will be a two-pronged challenge to kick start changes in the downtown, according to Long.
First, the new rec centre itself will move a great many services down to the main street of Aldergrove.
"We want to set the example," Long said.
Secondly, the existing Aldergrove Community Arena, at 2882 272nd St. skating facility will be closed and likely sold for redevelopment once the new centre is up and running.
That area is zoned for higher density, which could mean condos or townhouses, depending on what type of development is brought forward, Long said.
Redeveloping the site will help bring more development cost charges and tax revenue to the Township for the changes to the rest of the area, Long said.
Part of the funding for the project is to come from land sales. Sales in Glen Valley have proved controversial, with local activists attempting to raise money to buy a forested lot themselves.
@ Copyright 2013