Though an Aldergrove water park price hike did occur, it was only half of what was recommended initially.
Resident delegate Dianne Kask stepped forward Monday night to address Langley Township council during the evening meeting to stand against a nearly 50 per cent increase in Aldergrove water park fees.
“The plan to raise rates at the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience (OCOE) water park by 50 per cent for the May 2019 opening is unacceptable,” Kask began.
“Aldergrove residents were promised on many, many occasions that the cost for the water park would be the same as the cost of other Township indoor pools,” Kask said.
Numerous Aldergrove supporters, all dressed in blue, attended the council meeting in support of her grassroots campaign, which advocated for a discounted pool pass for youth and premium processing for Township residents to enter the pool faster.
Applause erupted after Kask’s presentation.
In response, Mayor Jack Froese said that to “restrict” out-of-town visitors from the centre, even by means of offering a way for local residents to skip the summer line up, does not reflect the costs associated with the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre (ACUCC).
Froese alluded to a $10 million grant the Township received from the federal government, in order to build the ACUCC.
Councillors Blair Whitmarsh, Eric Woodward, Petrina Arnason, and Froese mentioned receiving dozens of emails from Aldergrove residents in protest of the hefty water park fee increase, which was first proposed by Township staff on April 1.
Councillor Kim Richter admitted she’s heard “horror stories” of people waiting outside the ACUCC in the summer heat due to long lineups and large volumes of out-of-town visitors.
“The Township promised that the water park would stay the same price as the pool. Many times I talked to council members while the centre was being built. They promised me that,” Kask said to the Aldergrove Star.
Richter stuck to that promise and proposed an amendment to increase water park fees by the three per cent – which the Township adopted for the pool itself.
Richter was shot down by a motion by Eric Woodward to raise the fees for the OCOE by 25 per cent, instead of the 50 per cent formerly recommended by Township staff. Six other councillors voted in support. Councillor Long was absent.
The price increase will take effect in May, when the OCOE opens.
“I’m glad that the fee increase was reduced,” Kask said, “but I’m disappointed that something wasn’t done regarding the youth pass.”
Whitmarsh said the youth pass suggestion is to be referred to Township recreation staff for further consideration in 2020, along with news of the dangerously long lineups at the ACUCC during summer months.
Kask said she will continue to fight as early as this year for the pass, so that the youth of Aldergrove have something healthy and productive to get busy with.
A super senior rate was also adopted by council unanimously earlier in the day – meaning that for those 80 years of age and older, it will cost them only a loonie to swim.