Aldergrove’s new pool and water park officially opened Friday, and local residents immediately donned their swimsuits to test it out.
The Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre and the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience saw local dignitaries turn up along with neighbourhood families eager for a dip.
“It’s a great day in Aldergrove,” said Township Mayor Jack Froese.
The park includes a large spray park and play area, three large waterslides, a covered lap pool, a hot tub, a “lazy river” in which people can float on inner tubes, and a wave pool with a movie screen at one end for showing films outdoors in the summer.
“I don’t think there’s anything like it,” Froese said.
The facility is not yet fully open – a playground and the ice arena are still under construction – and for the next two weeks there will be “practice swims” that local residents can sign up for in advance.
“We want to be sure to work out all the kinks before we open to the public on Monday, July 16,” Froese said.
The ice arena will be finished in August, said Jason Winslade, who oversaw the three-year project of construction for the Township.
On Aug. 18, there will be a passing of the torch from the old Aldergrove arena to the new one, complete with a unique parade.
“We’re following the Zamboni from the old arena to this arena,” Winslade said.
He noted that he was passing the torch in another way – his first job in the Township was in the old Aldergrove Arena, in a broom closet serving as an office.
On Sept. 15, there will be a big open house that will allow anyone to come and check out the new facility free of charge, Winslade added.
Swimming or using the facility will cost the same as at other Langley Township pools or rec facilities.
The project was intended first and foremost to give a bigger and better rec facility to Aldergrove.
But the Township is hoping it will also kick start some redevelopment in downtown Aldergrove.
So is Jack Nicholson, the CEO of the Otter Co-op and current president of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.
It will draw people from far beyond Aldergrove, said Nicholson, and he hopes that will give the area an economic boost.
The old Aldergrove Pool is already closed, replaced now by the new facility.
But it’s being changed into an expanded spray park, said Al Neufeld, the Township’s manager of design and development for parks.
There will be a two-phase process, with construction taking place this summer of a new spray park for younger kids over the site of the former pool. Then next year the older spray park on the site will be renovated. The project will have an ocean and nature theme with a “shipwreck” feature, Neufeld said.
As for the old Aldergrove arena, it’s intended for redevelopment, possibly as multi-family townhouses or condos, Winslade said.