Though it happened April 1, it isn’t a joke.
Langley Township councillors are being asked to consider hiking admission fees at Aldergrove’s new water park.
For those wanting to take a dip in the summer heat at the new community centre outdoor feature area, it could cost more come May.
Council discussed potential changes proposed by staff during Monday night’s meeting. The suggested changes could include increasing entry fees for Aldergrove’s Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience (ACOE) by 50 per cent, which has a few residents upset.
Langley resident Michelle Connerty, who ran for council last fall, believes Township residents should be allowed to continue paying the current rates so long as they are listed as taxpayers.
“Let the visitors subsidize the ‘destination’ attraction,” with increased out-of-town admission costs, Connerty suggested.
The proposed hike would result in the one-time drop-in rate of $2.95 for a child using the water park to jump to $4.45, and for adults, the rate would rise from $6 to $9.
Family rates – which allow for two adults and three related children – would be hiked to $17.85 at the water park, instead of a current $11.90.
If council approves the proposed fee hikes, they will take effect May 1. The Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience is set to open on the May long weekend.
A staff report points to the “enormous success” of ACUCC’s Otter Co-op water park since it opened in summer of 2018.
“Over 100,000 visitors in the first two months of operation” is cited as a determinant for the changes.
“Based on the initial operating season it has been shown that the budget model needs to be updated to properly account for staffing and operating costs,” the Township report stated.
The large cost increase is “just for the water park portion of the centre,” explained Rob Stare, deputy director of parks and recreation for the Township.
“We are trying to apply appropriate fees, and take into consideration other water park costs, in Ontario and even America, when making our recommendations,” he added, clarifying that the hefty price hike would not be for the pool, hot tub, steam room, or gym facilities.
Drop-in swimming fees for the Aldergrove pool will increase by three per cent, which is on par with other Township facilities. Those will take effect in September, Stare confirmed.
In the meantime, the recommendation for the water park referred to the hike as “comparatively inexpensive” to those of Cultus Lake Waterpark – B.C.’s largest water park and water-themed amusement centre.
Local Ledell Kendal says it isn’t a fair comparison to make.
“You cannot compare Aldergrove to the other water parks – ours has three slides and one hot tub. Most other water parks have more than three slides and at least two hot tubs. The parks are also three times larger,” Kendal said.
Two other options presented by Township staff were submitted to council only for secondary considerations.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios we’re putting forth based on our recommendation – the council’s decision might result in a phased approach to fees or subsidization of costs, which would likely come from a tax-funded approach,” Stare elaborated.
“We don’t want to reduce services to the community,” he said. “That’s why we’re trying to put forth a reasonable approach.”
Local Dianne Kask stepped up as a resident delegate at next week’s council’s meeting, where she hopes to discuss the pool fees.
Kask has started a grassroots initiative to push for changes the Aldergrove centre’s fees.
She, among others, are asking for premium processing days where locals can skip the line-ups for swimming and enjoy the pool faster.
“I stepped up because if I didn’t, then who would?” Kask said, inviting other locals to join her, and wear blue, on Monday, April 15, at the 7 p.m. council meeting being held at the Township Civic Facility on 65th Avenue.