By Frank Bucholtz/Special to Aldergrove Star
One of the most popular places to be in Aldergrove this summer has been the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience water park at Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre.
Its popularity extends far beyond Aldergrove or even Langley. This has been particularly true during the past few weeks of extended hot weather.
Residents of Langley Township have priority use of the facility, which was built and continues to be subsidized by Langley Township taxpayers. They have the ability to pre-register 10 days before their actual visit. This applies to all water park sessions.
Non-residents can also pre-register, but they can do so seven days before their visit. Thus if the demand is great, as it has been on many days this summer, it will be mainly Township residents using the facility.
In 2019 and 2021, the Township tried “resident only” visits on Sundays, but the attendance was low. Ultimately, it was decided open it up on Sundays to non-residents as well.
On a recent Sunday, non-residents had to register within a few minutes of the opening of pre-registration, because after 10 minutes, the session was sold out. This is not uncommon.
Another issue is capacity limits. In 2019, before COVID-19, the facility had a limit of 1,200 people at one time. In 2020, it was closed. Last year, when it reopened, capacity was limited to 200, and gradually was increased to 600. It remains at 600 this year.
New for the water park this year has been the introduction of a Township resident priority 10-day pre-registration window for all water park sessions, with non-residents being able to only register up to seven days before. In 2021 it was seven days for all regardless of residency. In 2019 and 2021 we tried “resident only” times on Sundays, but they had low attendance, and ultimately were opened to non-residents.
New this year to AUCCC and all Township recreation facilities is the $20 Summer Fun youth pass, for all youth aged 13 to 18. About 900 passes have been sold to date. These passes include admission to regular pool and fitness and gym drop-in and passes to the two Youth Nights hosted at the water park this summer.
The first Youth Night on July 21 at the water park was very successful, with 177 registered. The second one takes place on Thursday, Aug. 18. The youth passes are valid until Sept. 5.
All of the AUCCC summer programs can be viewed online at Programs and Activities Registration (tol.ca). Fall programs are also now viewable, and fall registration opened on Wednesday (Aug. 3).
In response to a question from The Star, Township media relations staff say attendance thus far in 2022 is down from 2019, however it is up over last year. More programs and services are being relaunched.
Another challenge for AUCCC and all recreation facilities is a shortage of lifeguards and recreation staff. This limits capacity for safety reasons. This an issue across North America, and the Township is actively recruiting and hopes to reach higher capacity and attendance numbers as the summer and fall progress.
Parking is an occasional issue, and that is one reason many residents who were surveyed about plans for the adjacent Gateway project identified more parking as a good use of that property, which is owned by the Township. A report summarizing results from that consultation was received by Langley Township council on July 25.
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