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Push is on for Aldergrove pool

Mayor Jack Froese stands in front of the boarded-up, former Aldergrove Elementary School. Froese holds plans for a proposed community centre and swimming pool for the site. - HARRY HUNT PHOTO
Mayor Jack Froese stands in front of the boarded-up, former Aldergrove Elementary School. Froese holds plans for a proposed community centre and swimming pool for the site.
— image credit: HARRY HUNT PHOTO

The Aldergrove Pool Committee is rallying community support again to push for Township council's approval of a plan to construct a community recreation facility in this town.

Committee spokesperson Joanne Nicolato says they will be hosting a booth at this weekend's Aldergrove Fair Days to update citizens on the campaign and to encourage the public to attend Monday afternoon's council meeting.

The council meeting on July 23 at 4 p.m. at Township Hall will hear a report from the Township recreation department on proposed plans for a community centre that could include a swimming pool, exercise rooms and a new ice arena.

The council meeting is open to the public and Nicolato says it's vital that Aldergrove residents turn up and show their support.

On Monday council will receive a presentation by Bruce Carscadden and Glen Stokes of Bruce Carscadden Architect Inc. regarding the Aldergrove Community Centre that is proposed for the former Aldergrove Elementary School site on Fraser Highway. The consultants conducted a feasibility study to explore options for the construction of a multi-use aquatic centre, ice arena, and community centre that would replace the aging Aldergrove Outdoor Pool and Aldergrove Community Arena.

Council had directed staff to take the preferred concept plan and program from their 2007 study and provide an updated site analysis of this plan to conform to the Aldergrove Elementary School site, as well as provide cost estimates for design options. Heritage considerations are being made as well with respect to the original 1912 school building at the site.

There have not been any further budget allocations made to this plan, but the Township has made a bid for the purchase of the former school site from the province.

David Leavers, director of Township Recreation, Culture, and Parks, said, "As this is the last council meeting prior to September, I wouldn’t expect an immediate council action to result, but the presentation will provide a sense of whether the preferred concept plan and program is achievable on this site, and will provide an updated estimate of the funding challenge council faces in moving forward with implementation."

"This (property) sale has to go through," said Nicolato. "Adapting the 2007 plans to fit will be moot if we don't get the site."

Nicolato says the pool committee's campaign over the past year resulted in a survey of 1,282 residents, who were overwhelmingly — 84 per cent — in support of a 50-metre leisure pool, as the first phase of the community centre.

Survey respondents also wished to see a larger exercise room than is currently offered in the Kinsmen Community Centre, as well as an indoor walking track.

The Township sees a new ice arena as a future addition, as it would greatly reduce heating and cooling costs if the arena and pool shared the same heat exchange system.

The indoor swimming facilities are the first priority, says Nicolato, who notes that the small, existing outdoor pool is seasonal, and is so popular during the summer months that often children are turned away because of overcrowding.

"We want this pool and we really have to start voicing our support," says Nicolato.

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Community Events, April 2014

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