Pool funding ‘challenging’

Mayor’s $2 million estimate falls far short of land’s actual value

When Mayor Jack Froese challenged Glen Valley residents to find the funds the Township had expected from the sale of 21 acres of forest, he inadvertently — and significantly—  underestimated the loss in revenue to the Township.

Froese challenged the residents to come up with $2 million, the amount he indicated the Township would lose after it pulled down the For Sale signfrom the forested land.

In fact, the Township was anticipating around $3 million, which would have represented a good chunk of the Aldergrove Elementary school site it wants to acquire for a pool, ice rink and community centre.

Three independent appraisers have valued the land at $3.7 million.

Last September, the School District obtained ministerial approval under the government’s land disposal process to sell the property, which has been vacant since the school closed in June, 2007.

That process requires school districts to offer the land to other levels of government once it has been established that it is not needed as a school.

Meanwhile, Glen Valley residents have formed Watchers of Langley Forests (WOLF), pledging to find ways of amassing the $2 million.

The money is a fraction of the eventual cost of Aldergrove’s new community centre. On July 23, council endorsed two options for the centre, with elements that include a pool and ice rink. The Township will present these for public feedback in the autumn.

Both will cost at least $33 million.

“Funding for this project will be a major challenge which still has to be addressed,” parks and recreation director David Leavers wrote in a report to council.

The Township will realize savings once the Aldergrove Arena and Parkside outdoor pool have been decommissioned, and will pursue grants from the provincial and federal governments, and dip into its reserves and surpluses.

Partnerships to help pay for the facility may also be considered, much along the lines of the arrangement the Langley Events Centre has with Trinity Western University and the Langley School District.

LEISURE POOL WILL BE INDOORS

A report compiled for Township’s July 23 meeting did not make clear that in the two options for an aquatic centre in Aldergrove, the leisure pool component for both would be an indoor facility.

Parks and Recreation direction David Leavers said that it is only a lap pool in one of the options that would be built outdoors.

Both options ensure that the leisure pool would be used all year round.

The Township has committed to seeking the input of the community on both of these options over the next three to four months, Leavers said.

He added that a series of public engagement opportunities will be announced in September.