Aldergrove residents calling for a full indoor pool are hoping Langley Township’s plans change before construction starts this year.
“Nothing’s in stone until the foundation is laid,” said Cathy Dunn, one of the group organizing a rally this Saturday for an indoor Aldergrove pool.
Aldergrove residents have been calling for a new pool, preferably a full-sized indoor pool, for years.
Last August, the Township announced a $28.5-million recreation and community centre complex, with both a new ice arena and pool area.
However, the pool planned is a 25-metre outdoor lap pool. A canopy was approved recently by the council.
In addition to the lap pool, the complex is to include three water slides, a wave pool, and a current channel for aquafit and inner tubing.
The residents are still calling for a full indoor pool saying that the year-round outdoor pool won’t really be usable for most of the year.
“At least 60 per cent of the project is seasonal,” said Alice Swenson, another organizer.
The pool is the piece of the complex with the broadest user base, appealing to teenagers, seniors, kids and families, Swenson said.
The organizers of the rally say it should be open year round to allow as many people as possible to utilize it.
They would have rather seen the $1.5 million budgeted for the canopy go towards proper walls that would fully enclose the pool.
The organizers are worried that once the pool is built, it won’t be possible to easily enclose it in the future.
“We only have one shot at this,” said Dunn.
If necessary, protest organizers say they would be okay with some of the outdoor water park amenities being removed to make way for a full indoor pool.
Aldergrove residents have often said they are overlooked when it comes to facilities – compared to the rest of the Township.
“We have so few amenities here,” said Swenson.
The Aldergrove Recreation Centre is to be built on the former site of the Aldergrove Elementary on Fraser Highway.
The old school buildings have already been cleared away and construction is expected to start in August or September.
That site is where the protest will be held this Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Organizers are also circulating a petition, and handing out window signs that residents can display, asking for a full pool.
Mayor Jack Froese said that at this point there isn’t time to re-design the pool and still get construction underway this year – in time for a 2018 opening.
“We’re on a tight timeline,” Froese said.
Council has already considered and re-considered switching to an indoor pool, but it would cost about $8 million more to build, and up to $800,000 per year more in operating costs, Froese said.
“It’s not just a pool, it’s a whole recreation facility,” he added.
Several of the early designs considered incorporating the Aldergrove Elementary building, but that would ultimately have been too expensive, the Township decided.