LOSC swimmers have been working out at the Al Anderson pool in Langley City since that pool reopened and the Walnut Grove and W.C. Blair pools in Langley Township, where they usually train, stayed closed. (Langley Advance Times file)

LOSC swimmers have been working out at the Al Anderson pool in Langley City since that pool reopened and the Walnut Grove and W.C. Blair pools in Langley Township, where they usually train, stayed closed. (Langley Advance Times file)

Two pools to re-open in Langley Township by January

W.C. Blair and then Walnut Grove are both slated to welcome swim clubs

Langley Township’s Walnut Grove and W.C. Blair’s pools will both be re-opened, thanks to an infusion of cash from the federal government to help municipalities struggling with COVID-19 costs.

In October, the council voted to re-open just W.C. Blair for the near future, because of the high cost of opening pools right now when occupancy is strictly limited. Without a large number of paying patrons, re-opening both pools could have caused a 3.19 per cent tax increase.

“The situation has changed somewhat in the last week,” said Councillor Bob Long at Monday afternoon’s council meeting.

Re-opening was largely a funding issue, Long noted, but the Township is now getting a significant cash infusion from the federal goverment of $7.6 million.

The money comes from the Safe Restart Agreement, a federal pool of funding distributed via the province.

Council considered re-opening Walnut Grove sooner rather than later, but Coun. Margaret Kunst suggested holding off on Walnut Grove until the start of January, due to uncertainty about the pandemic.

There was a significant amount of debate as councillors worried about whether facilities were opening up too early amid rising COVID rates, or whether it was important to give people an opportunity for safely distanced physical activity.

Kristi McIntosh, a parent and volunteer at the Langley Olympians Swim Club (LOSC), welcomed the decision.

“It’s open just in the nick of time, for Olympic trials training,” McIntosh commented.

“We’re happy and we just hope that [reopening the pool] continues to be the plan, going forward.”

McIntosh has argued that pools “continue to be viewed as extremely safe places [in a pandemic] as physical distancing can be maintained and the presence of chlorine decreases transmission.”

In March, LOSC swimmers lost their practice places at the Walnut Grove and W.C. Blair indoor pools, when they were ordered closed as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Swimmers with the club have been making do with outdoor practices at the Aldergrove pool, which lacks competition-length lanes, as does the WC Blair pool, which was recently reopened by the Township.

READ MORE: Council debates opening next pool: W.C. Blair or Walnut Grove?

The debate was part of an update on the re-opening plans for the W.C. Blair pool.

“We’re in a bit of a challenge right now,” Township administrator Mark Bakken told the council, noting that the plans had been made before provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry imposed two weeks of additional restrictions last Saturday.

“What are you recommending?” asked Coun. Steve Ferugson.

Bakken and Mayor Jack Froese said that staff will continue to work towards re-openings, but will have to take into account the new rules.

“The process forward can change very quickly,” Bakken said.

Councillors Kim Richter and David Davis voted against the re-opening schedule.

CoronavirusLangleyLangley Township

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rents range from $1,000 for a studio apartment up to almost $2,000 for a family townhouse at Emmaus Place, built as affordable housing. (Langley Advance Times files)
Rents out of reach at Langley affordable housing project, say would-be tenants

Rents for a studio apartment start at $1,000 a month

Belmont school in Langley reported one person tested positive for COVID-19 (Undated Google Maps image)
COVID-19 cases reported at Belmont Elementary and DW Poppy schools in Langley

Fraser Health says in both cases the affected individuals are self-isolating at home

Tamara Jansen in the House of Commons. (CPAC)
Jansen says Liberals dropped the ball on vaccines

The MP launched the attack during question period

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Vees goalkeeper Yaniv Perets stands watch while Tyler Ho takes the puck around the back of the net on Nov. 7. The BCHL press release did not name the player who tested positive.(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees quarantining after player tests positive for COVID-19

The team, staff and billets are isolating while they are tested

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
COVID-19 tickets: No, RCMP aren’t checking vehicle occupancies, restaurant tables

Enforcement about education, not punishment says Surrey RCMP Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

Most Read