By Dan Ferguson
A campaigner for an indoor pool in Aldergrove has warned Township council that supporters are so disappointed with the decision to make the new recreation centre pool an outdoor facility, and so doubtful it will ever be truly indoors that they don’t want to raise funds for pool equipment and accessories.
“If it’s not going to be indoors, people are not going to help at all,” said Joanne Nicolato of the Aldergrove Recreation and Pool Society.
Nicolato came to the Monday night council meeting to seek assurance that the pool can be converted to an indoor facility down the road, as mayor Jack Froese has said.
There is concern that the Township could just put a roof over the pool and leave it open to the elements, Nicolato said.
“We are asking council and staff to clarify what indoor means to them so that the community can be on the same page as they are,” Nicolato told council. “Covered is not indoor.”
The design needs to have “proper foundations, electrical systems and space for future mechanical and HVAC systems to support a fully enclosed indoor pool,” she said.
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 centre at 27032 Fraser Hwy. from $55 million to $26 million by opting for an outdoor pool and demolishing the Aldergrove Elementary School, rather than upgrade the school to modern standards.
The new Township facility will feature a two-level, 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.
At the time, mayor Froese said the reduced cost allows the municipality to build a facility now, rather than wait until it finds more funds.
“Do we build something today or do we wait another 20 years?” Froese said.
The pool and water park are scheduled to open in May of 2018, followed a few months later by the new arena.