Aldergrove’s planned lap pool will get a $2 million deep end and a possible boost in length, but few other changes will be considered as the construction deadline moves closer.
On Monday, Langley Township council heard from Aldergrove residents who have been pushing for a larger, or fully indoor, pool as part of the new rec centre plan.
In response, the council voted to add a deep end for diving to plans, possibly also extending the pool and its canopy.
The additional $2 million will come from capital infrastructure reserves or surplus. It will bring the cost of the project to close to $33 million, from its original budget of $28.5 million.
Cathy Dunn has been among the organizers of protests calling for an indoor pool.
The lap pool as designed will not be usable year round, and because of its planned five-foot depth, can’t be used for diving or swimming lessons for kids, Dunn told the council Monday night.
Aldergrove resident Dianne Kask suggested doubling the length of the pool and its cover, possibly adding some panels to block the wind, and removing the wave pool to make room and pay for the upgrade.
The residents have gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition for an upgraded pool.
The protests prompted Councillor Kim Richter’s motion to add several elements:
• A deep end and diving board
• Gradual entry for seniors, the disabled, and children, and
• Movable doors or walls to enclose the pool completely
“I don’t think we’ve got it right yet, and I think we need to get it right,” Richter said.
After a lengthy debate among council members, the first of Richter’s three points was adopted.
On top of the base cost, the council already voted to spend another $1.5 million to build a canopy for the pool.
The plan is for the outdoor lap pool to be used for most of the year, including in the fall and early spring and possibly through most of the winter.
“I wanted an indoor pool like everybody else,” said Mayor Jack Froese.
But estimates of a full indoor 50 meter pool come to about $50-$60 million, similar to the cost of projects in Surrey, Froese said.
While few councillors were open to redesigning the pool, several such as Blair Whitmarsh and David Davis did suggest considering the addition of a deep end, and possibly some other modifications to the 25 meter lap pool.
Councillor Charlie Fox warned that the cost of the project was already approaching $33 million, rather than the original budget of $28.5 million.
Township administrator Mark Bakken noted the project is under “extreme cost pressure.”
In addition to the much-debated pool, the facility also includes a water park with slides, a wave pool, a new ice arena, community rooms, an indoor walking track, and other amenities.
Construction is to start later this year for a 2018 completion, on the former site of Aldergrove Elementary on Fraser Highway the western edge of Aldergrove’s downtown.