The first step in construction Aldergrove’s new pool, ice arena, and rec centre will be to deconstruct the elementary school on the site.
That process began Wednesday, and politicians marked the start of work by symbolically planting golden shovels in the ground.
“There’s been a lot of talk, and today is really the beginning,” said Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese.
The project is slated to be finished by May of 2018. When complete, it will include a six-lane 25-metre outdoor heated pool, an ice rink, and a sizable outdoor water park complete with water slides, a wave pool, a current channel, and playgrounds and a picnic area.
The project was announced in June, after years of wrangling and planning for a new upgraded pool for Aldergrove. The existing outdoor pool is aging and has suffered from maintenance issues, including cloudy water in recent years.
The crews doing the deconstruction work were scheduled to begin working Wednesday afternoon, said Jason Winslade, the Township’s manager of municipal administration.
The old Aldergrove schoolhouse won’t simply be demolished. Crews will be looking for materials that can be salvaged, possibly to incorporate in the new building, Winslade said.
Several local Aldergrove residents – including a few who were walking their dogs in the area – stopped to watch the groundbreaking.
Among the visitors were Marcy Buchanan and her four children.
Buchanan said she’s looking forward to the new center, because it will give the family somewhere nice to go that’s local, without driving into Abbotsford. The family used to go to Aldergrove Lake quite a bit, she said, before it was closed by Metro Vancouver Parks.
The project has not been without controversy. Some locals continue to call for the pool to be indoors, and there was a lobbying effort to see that Aldergrove got a 50 metre pool.
Although the pool will be outdoor, the Township plans to heat it sufficiently that it can be used almost all year.