There might be a new public pool in Fort Langley – but it won’t be an immediate replacement for the old outdoor pool that is set to be replaced by a spray park.
In June, Township council voted to move ahead with plans for the $1 million spray park and to consider possibly building a new pool in the neighbourhood in the future.
That would replace the existing public pool in Fort Langley Community Park, which dates back decades and has suffered from increasing mechanical and cleaning issues.
The pool was last open in 2019.
The other options for a small to medium-sized public pool on the site were much more costly.
“It’s at the end of its useful life,” Township administrator Mark Bakken noted of the pool. “Now the question is do we repair it given that expense, do we replace it, do we enhance it, do we relocate it.”
A new outdoor pool with four 25 metre lanes would cost about $7.5 million, according to a staff report.
Replacing the existing, relatively small outdoor pool with a new equivalent one would also cost between $3 and $4 million, just to create a new facility that would meet current health codes and guidelines.
Finally, major renovations to bring the existing pool into compliance would cost about $2.3 million.
Surveys of the community found strong support for a pool of some kind.
“It’s gone through a lot of public consultation,” said Mayor Jack Froese.
Coun. Kim Richter noted the strong support for a public pool.
“It was clear from the feedback that 78 per cent want a pool,” she said.
But according to Coun. Bob Long, the actual number of swimmers there in the last few years of the pool’s life was low.
“The fact is, there weren’t that many users,” he said.
Several young members of the community had launched a campaign to keep the pool open or get a new pool, as a gathering place for teenagers in the Fort. A spray park is for younger children, they noted.
In the end, council voted four to three in favour of converting the existing pool site to a spray park, with the funds to be part of next year’s municipal budget.
Richter’s motion to instead delay that plan for six months for a report and the creation of a coordinating committee was defeated on a four-four tie. Councillor Eric Woodward had recused himself from the debate, leaving council at eight members.
Council did vote in favour of a motion by Coun. Steve Ferguson for a report on future youth aquatic facilities and other options for youths in Fort Langley.
A reconsideration on the spray park plan Monday, June 28 didn’t change the minds of the majority on the council. It was defeated on a tie vote, with Froese and Councillors Margaret Kunst, Blair Whitmarsh, and Long opposed to reconsidering the matter.