It’s been a long wait but the new recreation centre in Aldergrove is nearing its opening date.
And it is nothing short of fabulous.
It’s been a long, arduous and oft-controversial project for Jason Winslade as he has stick-handled it for several years from conception through to completion, but he is justifiably proud of the results, right down to the little but important details.
As Langley Township’s General Manager Municipal Administration, Winslade has overseen development of the Township Administration Centre as well as the Langley Events Centre, and he says “there have been lessons learned that we’ve taken and learned from in building the Aldergrove project.”
Winslade said the Township has also been responsive to public feedback, which has resulted in modifications or tweaks to the design of the unique facility.
In addition, the almost $10 million grant from the federal government has enabled the Township to fast-track a number of substantial additions to the $30 million project, such as solar panels on the pool’s canopy that will augment the energy supply of such a major facility.
The end result is a grand recreational facility that will meet the needs of many different users and clubs for years to come. And in the same way that the Aldergrove Athletic Park’s top-notch sports fields complex is the envy of neighbouring communities throughout the Fraser Valley, the new Aldergrove recreation centre will put this community on the map and attract visitors from throughout the region.
The Aldergrove Star was treated to a preview of the full facility this past week, and while finishing work is ongoing by construction crews, the overall facility, down to the little details and personal touches, is truly impressive.
The complex of aquatic-play features and swimming pools in what is called the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience will be completed first, and several components are already up and running. A ceremony will be held on Friday, June 29 at 11 a.m., followed by “soft openings” in the first two weeks of July, with a grand opening in mid-July once all aspects are ready for the expected onslaught of users.
The arena complex, which also houses the meeting room, wood-sprung floor dance-exercise room and fitness room with treadmills and free weights on the second floor, is named the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre and will open mid-August. There will be a “mini-parade” from the old arena to the new facility on Saturday, August 18, and the fitness/multi-purpose rooms will open on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
The Aldergrove Credit Union and Otter Co-op have each committed $50,000 per year for the next five years towards the operating expenses of the facility, in exchange for the naming rights at the two facilities.
Both facilities share the same entrance on the west wide, next to the parking lot and drop-off zone, although during the summer guests can enter the aquatic area’s gate without trekking through the front entrance if they wish.
Once inside the guests will find a playground; a tidal pool called Breaker Bay that is capable of throwing six types of waves and also features a large movie screen; a current channel or ‘lazy river’ that will gently push tube-users around a large circle; a multi-storey, circus-themed aqua-structre with miniature waterslides; a picnic area; and the grand waterslides complex of three tubes. There is also a large upper deck that is capable of hosting up to 60 persons for parties, with private washrooms and change rooms below it for all users of the facility.
There will also be two food trucks in this area, operated by the Township, offering Triple-O’s, fish and chips, wraps and smoothies.
Last, but certainly not least, is the competition swimming pool, leisure pool and large hot tub sheltered under the canopy made of beautiful dowel-laminated timbers (DLT). The 25-metre six-lane pool meets competition standards and includes a 3.88-metre deep end that allows for two diving boards, one and three metres high. The three metre diving board also boasts a stairway instead of a ladder which makes it easier for a youngster to walk back down if they have a change of heart once they reach the top. In addition there is a rope swing at the deep end.
The leisure pool depth ranges from 0.7 to 1.1-metres deep and has a ramp leading down to the shallow end at one side, as well as bench seating along two sides so that guardians can sit up to their chests in the water while watching their little tykes play.
In addition to the large hot tub there is a sauna and steam room side-by-side next to the change rooms and washrooms in the main building. The deck around the pools has heat tracing to melt frost in the colder months and the outer wall of the main building has natural gas radiant heaters for the comfort of guardians watching their children while taking swimming lessons during the colder months.
Inside the main building is NHL-size (200×85) ice rink, with tiered 500-plus seating on the west side and upper level ringside seating all around the rink, as well as a walking-running track with “pulastic” flooring that cushions impact. All other flooring throughout the arena is resilient, allowing skates to be used throughout the arena area, including the washrooms and Triple-O’s concession area.
Special features include sound baffling in the ceiling that mitigates echo and sound leakage, energy-efficient LED lighting and for protection against skater concussions the rink’s sill plates have soft caps.
The Aldergrove Kodiaks Jr. B Hockey Club and officials have dedicated change rooms on the east side, and there are five change rooms on the west side, along with gated storage areas for clubs all around the rink. The Kodiaks, Aldergrove Skating Club and Aldergrove Minor Hockey Association also each have dedicated office space on the west side with 24-hour “fob” access to their own spaces.
On the south side’s second floor there is a large meeting room for programs and rentals, a wood-sprung floor room for pilates, yoga and dance, and a large fitness room that will feature a bevy of exercise equipment such as treadmills, free weights and the like.
There also has been significant work to bring infrastructure to the complex, with new sewer and water lines installed and road improvements that will include a bus shelter at the front of the arena on Fraser Highway. The parking lot includes a bio-swale that permits rainwater to disperse into the ground instead of running into the storm sewers, and street parking and sidewalks have been constructed all along 270 Street as well. A ten-foot high cedar privacy fence is currently being built that will surround the entire property.
There is parking for more 100 vehicles, but as the facility sits in the very centre of Aldergrove it is expected that many local users will choose to walk or cycle to the centre.
And unlike the privately-operated water parks, the cost to enjoy this outdoor water experience will be the same fee structure as any other Township recreation centre pass. That means it will be as low as $5.25 for an adult to get into the aquatic park, or $2.50 per child.
This makes it affordable for all families to enjoy healthy outdoor water activities.
And “only in Aldergrove.”