By DAN FERGUSON
Township council has approved changes to the new Aldergrove pool that will allow construction of a canopy cover in the future.
The Monday vote approved spending an extra $280,000 to install “footings and structural enhancements” that would serve as the foundation for a canopy roof over the pool.
Council postponed a decision on actually building the canopy, which would cost another $1.6 million.
Coun. Bob Long proposed proceeding with the preliminary foundation work immediately, calling it a “prudent” move that makes it easier to add a roof in the future.
Coun. Charlie Fox was the only member present who voted against the proposal, saying it was because he would have preferred to see the canopy approved “right now.”
To completely enclose the pool would add more than $7 million to the $26 million estimated cost of construction, a staff report to council estimates.
The decision comes after Joanne Nicolato of the Aldergrove Recreation and Pool Society told a November council meeting that supporters of an indoor pool are so disappointed with the decision to build an outdoor pool that they were unwilling to fundraise to support the project.
“If it’s not going to be indoors, people are not going to help at all,” Nicolato said.
There was concern the Township could just put a roof over the pool and leave it open to the elements, Nicolato said.
“Covered is not indoor.”
Nicolato called on council to make the final building and pool design public, “so the public can see exactly what facilities, or lack of, is being provided to the community.”
The Township trimmed the estimated cost of the new recreation centre from $55 million to $26 million by opting for an outdoor pool and demolishing the Aldergrove Elementary School.
The new Township facility will feature a 550-seat hockey arena and events space, fitness centre, walking surface, multi-purpose rooms, and an outdoor aquatic facility with a six-lane, 25-metre pool, waterslides, tidal pool, current channel, children’s aqua structure, picnic areas and playground.
The reduced cost means the Township will not have to hike taxes or seek approval for any more potentially-controversial sales of surplus land to raise the necessary money.
The pool and water park are scheduled to open in May, 2018, followed a few months later by the arena.
— with files from Black Press
NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated that plans for the recreation facility included the potential to one day enclose the pool. This is not the case. The Star regrets the error.