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UPDATED: New Aldergrove pool may open in 2015

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

Aldergrove residents keen to have their own public swimming pool will be invited help decide on the design — but they will have to be patient because the facility itself is not expected to be open until 2015.

The Township has proposed a pool, indoor ice rink and recreation centre on the site of Aldergrove Elementary School, which was closed at the end of 2007. Most of the school will be demolished and only the section that holds heritage value would be retained. It faces Fraser Highway.

These are the two choices council will ask the public to consider:

Option 1: $34.8 M — Indoor pool for year-round use; fitness rooms above change rooms; relocation of Aldergrove Library from Kinsmen Centre to the Heritage schoolhouse; multi-purpose rooms, larger lobby and adjacent food service.

Option 2: $33.4 M — Outdoor pool in park-like setting, more multi-purpose rooms, larger lobby, renovation of old school for library.

Parks, recreation and culture director David Leavers said that both choices include an indoor leisure pool for year-round use. The second option suggests adding a six-lane lap pool that would be built outdoors and operated seasonally.

If the Township opts for the first choice, the cost would be around $34.8 M, while the second runs slightly lower at $33.4 M.

Leavers stated in a report that the new aquatic centre will follow the permanent closure of two aging facilities: the outdoor pool in the Parkside neighbourhood, and the Aldergrove Arena on 272 Street.

"The Township has committed to seeking the input of the community on both of these options over the next three to four months," Leavers said, adding that a series of public engagement opportunities will be announced in September.

The costs associated with these facilities would be transferred to the new centre, which would also serve as an urban substitute for the man-made lake at the regional Aldergrove Lake Park. The lake has been drained and will not be replaced.

Should council decide to transfer the library from the Kinsmen Centre to the school site, the Township would pursue leasing opportunities for the latter, using lease revenue to help finance the operating costs of the new centre.

Leavers noted that because of Aldergrove’s population, a new pool will not attract the number of residents that use the Township’s two indoor facilities, the Walnut Grove Rec Centre, and the Blair Rec Centre.

Attendance at these two larger facilities could conceivably fall when Aldergrove users switch to the new facility.

Leavers said that the Aldergrove pool would serve a catchment area of about 20,000 residents, while Walnut Grove’s catchment is four times larger.

He noted that residential development in west Abbotsford, abutting the Aldergrove border, is not high density, and thus would not have a significant impact on the pool usage. The population there is currently around 5,000. The closest pool in Abbotsford is an indoor pool on Clearbrook Road.

The Aldergrove Pool Committee supports an indoor facility.

The Al Anderson Memorial Pool, an outdoor facility in Langley City, opened on May 11 and will close for the season on Aug. 31.

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