Maple Ridge council wants a new outdoor pool as soon as possible. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge council wants a new outdoor pool as soon as possible. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge outdoor pool price could almost double

$11.5-million project still subject to voter consent however

Maple Ridge is moving full-speed ahead on a new outdoor pool, but it’s going to cost more than originally thought.

Council, on Tuesday, told staff to write up a request for bids to build a 25-metre, 10-lane outdoor pool beside the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club on 232nd Street.

Instead of costing $6 million, though, the estimated price has jumped to $11.5 million.

That’s because council is adding in a tiered, landscaped area to the north of the pool that will serve as an additional spectator area.

It’s also asking for a larger changeroom building, a wider deck, to be used in competitions, a wheelchair entrance to the pool and spectator seating for about 600 – all of which will make the pool suitable for competitive swimming, recreational and training purposes.

Feedback from public consultation said that people liked the tiered, landscaped area that uses the natural slope in the area, said consultant Paul Fast.

“We have to get this thing built. We just have to,” said Coun. Gordy Robson.

“It fits like a glove in there,” and the final cost could be lower than $11.5 million, Robson noted.

Construction could take nine months to a year to complete.

“I think it’s going to be a really great community amenity,” said Mayor Nicole Read.

People will use the grassed area around the pool for family gatherings, she added.

The entire project depends on whether the public likes the idea and is willing to borrow to pay for it.

People, this fall, will decide through what’s called the alternative approval process on whether they want the city to build the outdoor pool, a new ice arena, a new Albion community centre, two all-weather fields at Thomas Haney secondary, two parkettes in Silver Valley, renovations to the Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club and Hammond Community Centre, and part of the renos to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.

Costs for all projects would now add up to about $60 million.

Anyone of those projects could be rejected if more than 10 per cent of Maple Ridge say they oppose the idea by signing sheets at city hall.

Coun. Craig Speirs said when the city invites bids, it has to specify that the outdoor pool project is contingent on getting the public’s approval.

“We need to be very careful around this process. We’re talking significant taxpayer dollars,” said chief administrator Paul Gill.

Maple Ridge wants to get an outdoor pool open as soon as possible to give people a place to swim when the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre closes in January for a total rebuild.

Fast summarized the comments from the public meetings held recently.

Residents who live nearby are concerned about parking and traffic, while the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club is worried about noise from the outdoor pool.

The Maple Ridge Tennis Club wanted to have access to the changerooms and washrooms on the site.

As a result, the changerooms will be located between the pool and the lawn bowling club to reduce noise.

The site will have 77 parking stalls. Another 120 stalls are available at nearby Thomas Haney secondary.

Part of the project involves building a pedestrian path to connect the two.

Members of the Neptunes and Seahorses swim clubs also want the pool open as much of the year as possible. That can be done by insulating the tank and covering the pool every night.

A pricier option is to put up a roof, without walls, over the pool, Fast said.

A traffic study must also be done.

A final report comes back to council at a future meeting at which councillors will vote whether to ask for bids from contractors to build the pool.

Meanwhile, the city will hold its altenative approval process in early October. If more than 10 per cent of voters sign in opposition to the project, the bidding process and project will cease.

The proposal also leaves room for previously planned expansion by both the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club and the Maple Ridge Tennis Club.

The approximate construction time for the rush project is about nine months.

Fast told council that about three metres of loose dirt has to be removed before work can begin.

 

Maple Ridge council wants a new outdoor pool as soon as possible. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge council wants a new outdoor pool as soon as possible. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge council wants a new outdoor pool as soon as possible. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge council wants a new outdoor pool as soon as possible. (Contributed)