Planners will take a closer look at the size of the pool in the proposed new Aldergrove community centre, now that Langley Township council has voted unanimously to order an “Aquatic Needs Assessment” as part of the next step in the planning process for the the former Aldergrove Elementary school site at Fraser Highway and 270 Street.
Councillors Kim Richter and Steve Ferguson were absent from the Monday, April 22 meeting.
Some residents have complained the preliminary plans for a 25-metre, six lane “short course” pool are inadequate.
They say a 50-metre, eight-lane “long course” swimming pool that can accommodate international-standard competitions should be built instead.
The chair of the standing committee on the Aldergrove community centre, Councillor Bob Long, has argued there simply isn’t enough room on the site, which has to accommodate both the swimming pool and a new hockey rink.
At the Monday afternoon meeting that approved the closer look at pool requirements, Councillor David Davis noted there is already a hockey rink serving the Aldergrove area, the 40-year-old Aldergrove Community Arena.
“I’m not convinced that I would like to see an ice rink built at this time,” Davis said.
“I want to support a pool [but] maybe not an ice rink.”
Councillor Charlie Fox predicted a larger pool would mean higher taxes and chilly swimmers.
Larger competition-level pools are kept colder for swim meets, Fox said, too cold for seniors and young people who will be the “primary users.”
“You don’t teach children to swim in a 50-metre pool unless the heat is cranked and that’s going to cost more,” he said.
If a long course pool goes in, Fox said the municipality can “now peg everybody’s tax increase at least one per cent higher.”
Mayor Jack Froese was also not convinced the community can afford the larger pool.
“I think we have to separate the wants from the needs,” Froese said.
“We need a pool, but we don’t want to blow the budget on it.”
The next-step report on the recreation centre from Township staff is expected by early July.
There are plans for a public consultation meeting.