Aldergrove residents will have the last half of summer to start considering what kind of new pool they'd like - and how much they're willing to pay for it.
Langley Township is starting to plan in earnest for a replacement pool, ice rink, and community centre in the city's downtown core, at the site of the closed Aldergrove Elementary.
Township council has authorized two possible designs, which will be scrutinized by local stakeholders like the Aldergrove Pool Committee, seniors, youth groups, and others.
The two options have different costs and would create different facilities, but both would rebuild the Aldergrove Elementary site significantly.
Both options include meeting rooms, a new ice arena to replace the old Aldergrove ice surface which was built in the 1970s, and a new leisure pool and lap pool, replacing the pool in Philip Jackman Park. Both plans would involve moving the Aldergrove Library from its home in the Kinsmen Community Centre to the old elementary building. Both are to make use of waste heat from the ice arena to help heat the pool and save on energy costs.
However, the pools would be quite different depending on which design council picks, as would costs.
Option one is a $34.8 million project that would create a large new building attached to, and wrapping around, the elementary school.
A six-lane lap pool would be built indoors and available for use year round, said David Leavers, director of parks and recreation for the Township.
The second option would cost slightly less to build at $33.4 million, and the five-lane lap pool would stay outside for use in the warm months only. The leisure pool and sauna would be inside and operate year round.
This version would include more of a park-like open space around the outdoor pool, and a generally smaller building.
"Aldergrove Lake has closed, and there's a large value around that outdoor swimming experience in Aldergrove," Leavers said.
Whether the community will prefer an indoor or outdoor pool remains to be seen, Leavers said.
He knows there is a strong constituency that would like a year-round swimming spot in town.
Joanne Nicolato, of the Aldergrove Pool Committee, said there doesn't seem to be much appetite for another outdoor pool, and she would actually like to see the building expanded into an eight-lane pool.
That would allow for more activities, including diving and water polo, Nicolato said.
"I'm just passionate about the pool," she said.
The key issue may be money.
The Township has spent the last month in an unexpected battle with residents of Glen Valley, who were less than pleased with an attempt to sell some forested Township lands.
The land sale was to pay for the purchase of the Aldergrove Elementary site from the school district.
Part of the land was taken off the auction block.
The Aldergrove Pool Committee, in the meantime, collected 650 signatures over two days during the Aldergrove Fair on a petition calling for land sales to fund the project.
There's also the $1.4 million difference between the indoor and outdoor pool concepts, but the larger difference shows up over time.
"Operationally, this [Option Two] would be about $300,000 a year cheaper," Leavers said.
With the consolidation of Aldergrove's pool, ice arena, and library into one facility, some of the costs of running the facility are already budgeted.
However, Option One will require $700,000 a year in new ongoing funding, and Option Two will need $400,000.
Getting the money to build and operate the new facility will inform the debate between now and the late fall, when council is expected to get its first round of public feedback and seriously consider the plans.
"This is a challenge for council, to identify sources of funding for this project," Leavers said.
The parks department will be looking for federal and provincial grants to help build it.
The Township is also interested in partnerships like the ones that cofunded the Langley Events Centre.
In that case, gymnastics groups, the school district, and Trinity Western University joined the project.
The Township seriously considered a new pool, then to be attached to the Kinsmen centre, in 2007. Funding issues kept it from moving beyond the design stage.
@ Copyright 2013