(THE NEWS/files)                                A design for an outdoor pool has been chosen yet.

(THE NEWS/files) A design for an outdoor pool has been chosen yet.

Maple Ridge talking about indoor and outdoor pools

Council voting on whether to seek public opinion on indoor aquatic centre

While Maple Ridge residents think about whether they want to pay for an outdoor pool, they also could be polled about an indoor one.

Council, on Tuesday, looked at a staff proposal that, if approved, could start this month by hiring an architectural company to draw up some concepts for an indoor aquatic centre.

By next February, council could get an update on the project, while also holding two open houses and taking online feedback about what the public thinks about an indoor pool.

Coun. Gordy Robson said he’d support the process, but says that the decision to proceed and build an indoor pool or aquatic centre, which could cost up to $70 million, is a project for the next council. The current council has a year left before the October civic elections.

Council earlier this year rejected adding an indoor pool to its near-term recreation upgrade list, which includes a new ice rink, sports fields and community centre, and which is supposed to go to the public for approval this fall.

Instead, it opted to add an outdoor pool to that list, priced at about $11 million, located near Thomas Haney secondary and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club. However, a final design for that has yet to be chosen.

Robson said he opposes the outdoor pool because it now costs too much. “But the public is going to be the one that decides this, not us.”

Coun. Craig Speirs also opposes an outdoor pool and thinks the money should be spent on building a proper indoor aquatic centre.

“There’s a pent-up demand for more than a pool.”

An alternative approval process is supposed to be held this fall, by which taxpayers can oppose borrowing for any one of the new rec projects by signing a sheet at city hall or other locations, stating their opposition.

If more than 10 per cent of voters oppose a project, it could be scrapped.

However, because of delays from the provincial government, that process could be delayed until the new year.

Robson said he’s glad to hear that Pitt Meadows is discussing a used, outdoor pool, theoretically the same one being considered by Maple Ridge, adding that Pitt Meadows could have it operating within six months.

The recreation projects, and their approximate costs, which people will be able to vote against:

• $25 million – new arena at Planet Ice;

• $11.5 million – outdoor swimming pool;

• $10 million – new Albion Community Centre, 104th Avenue;

• $10 million – two artificial sports fields at Thomas Haney secondary;

• $4.5 million – two new mini-parks or gathering places in Silver Valley, and upgrades to the Hammond Community Centre and Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club;

• $3.5 million – balance of renovations to Maple Ridge Leisure Centre for new changerooms and lobby;

• $2.5 million – upgrading Maple Ridge secondary track.

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