Langley Township council has approved spending up to another $2 million on the planned Aldergrove Recreation Centre to include a diving tank.
This will add about another 10 to 15 metres to the length of the planned 25 metre, six-lane pool.
There is room for the addition and the canopy over the pool will be extended to include a deep end and diving tank, said Township administrator Mark Bakken.
He also said the additional funds could come from capital infrastructure reserves or surplus, if that was council’s wish.
The decision came as a result of Coun. Kim Richter’s motion to reconsider the overall plan for the centre’s aquatic facilities.
Mayor Jack Froese and most of council argued that plans are too far advanced to take it back to the drawing board, but councillors also expressed concerns that “we get it right” at Monday evening’s council meeting.
Coun. Blair Whitmarsh said the plans “are the best within the budget we have.”
However, he said his 10 years experience in managing aquatic facilities made him open to adding a deep end for the pool, so that uses such as swimming lessons above level 6 could be accommodated, along with synchronized swimming and diving.
Coun. Charlie Fox then moved that the pool be extended for the deep end, provided the cost not exceed $2 million, and Whitmarsh seconded the motion.
The vote came at the end of a long meeting, which included two delegations which requested council reconsider the pool plan.
One of the delegates, Aldergrove resident Dianne Kask had suggested that council eliminate the outdoor wave pool to allow for construction of a 50 metre indoor pool.
Another Aldergrove delegate, Cathy Dunn, told council that the community wanted an indoor pool for year-round use.
Mayor Froese said he had hoped for an indoor pool, but as the public’s wish list grew so did the estimated costs.
“It became $50 million to $60 million and council said we can’t do that,” said Froese.
“We gave staff a challenge of meeting the $27 million budget and I wish Aldergrove would give it a chance. As a council we struggled and worked, and it was ‘do we make a decision or do we wait another 20 years?’”
Coun. Petrina Arnason said she had campaigned for an indoor pool in the last election but “after reading 800 pages of documents I understood we don’t have the budget for an indoor pool. We uniformly voted for (the planned facility) and while I’m willing to look at tweaking it, people are still not coming to us in a unified voice, there is still a range of interesting ideas of what they want.”
Coun. Angie Quaale noted that she had never promised an indoor pool but “we promised a recreation facility, and it will be a phenomenal facility. This is not just about a pool, we are creating a hub for recreation, learning, socializing and programming… that contributes to wellbeing.”
Including land acquisition costs for the recreation centre site, Township council unanimously approved expenditure of about $31 million for the ice arena, aquatic facilities, exercise and community meeting rooms in June of 2015.
The addition of a canopy and diving tank for the pool aspect brings that total up to $35 million.