Artist's rendering of planned pool canopy at Aldergrove rec centre.

Pool plans not up to expectations

An open letter to Township Council with suggestions on ways to improve the pool situation within the present budget.

Editor:

An open letter to Township Council with suggestions on ways to improve the pool situation within the present budget.

The decisions of council on design and location of the proposed Aldergrove recreation centre have made many people in Aldergrove and the rest of Langley lack confidence in the council. There are ways of correcting these errors without spending more money.

It appears that council refuses to put the pool in a more desirable location such as by the Kinsmen Centre where it could easily be used by the high school and middle school as part of their Physical Education classes, as the Walnut Grove Pool is used for the Walnut Grove High School. It would also have been beside the park which is the logical place to put a pool.

The pool must be made larger. I realize that the consulting group stated that a six-lane, 25 metre pool would be adequate for Aldergrove but really the consulting group just said what council wanted to hear. A different consulting group could have said something larger.

I was recently at the Walnut Grove Pool and checked out what six lane, 25 metres would look like. Their large pool is more than twice the size of Aldergrove’s proposed pool. They also have another large pool that is meant for younger children to play in which we would not have in the winter time. In six lanes with no more than five people swimming in a lane that would mean about 30 people would fit swimming reasonably comfortably in the pool at one time. If the pool is divided into areas for people playing with their children and for exercise classes that leaves a very crowded pool without the capacity to handle our community comfortably. That is before any major development occurs to double Aldergrove’s population as stated in the Aldergrove Core Community Plan.

If council wishes, the proposed pool could be expanded beside the main building, moving the grassy area and picnic area to where the wave pool is planned. Eliminate the wave pool. It would only be open in the summer time. We need a larger year round pool in Aldergrove far more.

The pool should be at least 35 metres long and eight lanes with a deep area to accommodate a regular sized diving board and rope swing area. Something for the older youth to do besides lengths. Eliminating the wave pool would free up monies for a larger pool and a roof. There is no intention on council to enclose the pool because that would ruin the ice. It would cost a lot for the system to counteract the condensation caused by the ice and pool in the same building and to council the ice comes first.

The other problem which needs to be remedied is to partner up with the Parks Regional District to replace the Aldergrove Lake with an updated version with a proper cement bottom and filter system. Something that starts out shallow and gets deeper as it travels to the other end. Similar to what you find in Stanley Park with the Second Beach Pool, adding a few feet around the edges to enlarge it. The old Aldergrove Lake was very well used and needed upgrades, due to that, it was shut down. I cannot imagine the lunacy that went into that decision. The lake is so well used that the old filtration system can’t handle it so let’s shut it down. Not fix it. Shut it down and then spend millions of dollars to build an outdoor pool that is smaller and won’t meet the needs of the community. The regional parks and council really need to get together to fix that huge mistake.

In the summer time both the Aldergrove outdoor pool and Aldergrove Lake were very busy. The Aldergrove Lake was free to the public so even those with low income could attend everyday in the heat of the summer with their families. I am wondering how often lower income families could afford to spend the $10 a day or more to attend the new complex in the summer time. The new pool won’t have the huge shade trees that made Aldergrove Lake so pleasant because it is in the middle of a commercial district.

Most of the year the outdoor, year-round pool will feel cold without some way to warm the air. To attend swimming lessons families will still be forced to attend the other pools. Lessons are filled quickly. I recently went to the Walnut Grove Pool at 3 pm. Parking was hard to find and the pool was very crowded. When leaving I went onto the freeway and it took 45 minutes to return to Aldergrove even though there were no accidents. And our Mayor says we already have a large pool in Langley so we don’t need one in Aldergrove. Try telling parents that who would like to put their children into swimming lessons and would need to spend hours after school taking their children to a lesson, waiting for the lesson to be over and then driving home to cook supper for the family. That is probably why half of the grade three students in Aldergrove cannot swim the width of our small pool. That will not improve with the planned outdoor pool.

Council think again. Enlarge the pool and make the air warm around the pool. Give the pool summer in the winter time. It won’t cost more. The money is already in the budget if you eliminate the wave pool.

Dianne Kask, Aldergrove