Parked cars lined 29th Avenue this summer, and emerging families walked over together to the recreation centre to enjoy its aquatic offerings. (Aldergrove Star files)

Year in review 2019: New pool not without its headaches

Before construction, rec centre subject of protests – after opening, still more problems

Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience, which is part of the new Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre (ACUCC), welcomed nearly 225,000 visitors this past summer.

This, in comparison with the water park’s 100,000 guests in its first two months of operation in June 2018, marks a notable increase.

But ACUCC’s location, 27032 Fraser Hwy., has caused havoc for nearby residents and business owners.

Homeowners on 29th Avenue expressed frustration over having driveways blocked and parking congestion.

Alexa Seymour, a homeowner on 29th Avenue, said that the Township “should have never built something like this without the proper parking to go with it.”

Though the Township planned for overcrowding, its designated overflow parking areas include the residential areas 29th Avenue and 270A Street, as well as the Aldergrove Community Secondary School parking lot.

Councillor Bob Long, from Aldergrove, insisted that walking from the high school parking lot increases physical activity.

“It’s just a 10-minute walk,” Long said.

Seven commercial tenants of the strip-mall in front of the ACUCC on 270th Street, barricaded by a wooden enclosure, have struggled with a lack of parking for patrons.

Joanne Nicolato, owner-manager of Alderbrook Health and Wellness Center, described a constant vigilance that comes with having 32 of the 59 parking spots.

“The Township took half” when they constructed the ACUCC, Nicolato explained.

Essence Hair Studio owner Marina Alizada said that pool visitors often ignore the “reserved for mall tenants and guests” signs the Township installed.

“My customers have to look for parking before they come. That takes a long time and sometimes they can’t even find any,” she said. “Especially during the summer.”

Accessibility an issue

In mid-April, the Aldergrove community caught wind of a proposed price hike to admission.

“The Township promised that the water park would stay the same price as the pool. Many times I talked to council members while the centre was being built. They promised me that,” Kask told the Aldergrove Star in May.

After Grassroots gathering and community feedback, the new suggested price was halved.

Though pleased with the outcome, Kask plans to advocate for the existence of a youth activity pass that is on par with other Metro Vancouver recreation centres.

Cashmere Roder pushed for change when she noticed the Pacific Park playground near the front of the centre was being closed during summer water park sessions.

Children were forced to leave if they did not sport a wristband, proving payment of admission for the Outdoor Experience, she said.

“At first this playground was to be included with the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience during the water park season and would be closed from October until May when it was not open,” Roder relayed in a letter to Township council.

Roder, also Aldergrove Community Association vice president, ushered in the public use of the playground, at no cost to children and parents who want to enjoy its offerings year-round.

It was voted on June 24, by council, that the playground will no longer be closed off to the community during summer water park sessions.

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Mothers Lisa Dai, Amy Synesael, Cashmere Roder and Sandra Booker stand in support of the recent changes the make the playground more accessible to the community. (Aldergrove Star files)

Breanne Parsons is now able to enjoy the playground with her young son any time of the year during regular ACUCC hours. (Aldergrove Star files)

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