Maple Ridge council has chosen a site near Thomas Haney secondary and is about to seek bids on building a $6-million outdoor pool there.
Just in case there’s any doubt that it’s the right location, the Haney Neptunes Aquatic Club is passing around a petition to support it.
“We’re voicing our concerns, making sure that they know that the community does want this to go through,” said Angela Downey, director of water polo for the Haney Neptunes.
The 100-member club is organizing both an online and paper petition, asking that the city buy a portable, 25-metre, 10-lane outdoor pool that’s currently available.
The club will present the petition to council this fall.
Council, though, is following an open-bidding process, as required in its purchasing policy, and is seeking to get the cheapest price by asking for competitive bids.
Downey said that ideally, her club would like the pool to be a uniform depth of two metres, which will make it easier to train in, but also acknowledged that a graduated depth would be better for the public or swimming lessons.
However, it’s possible to convert pools to have both, she added.
Depending on the consultation, the city could issue a request for bids to design and build the architectural, mechanical and electrical features. Geotech studies must also be done as the outdoor pool proceeds to a November 2018 opening date.
So far, the Change.org petition has only 35 names in support, with comments such as “Maple Ridge is in dire need of amenities,” from Lori Schneider.
“Learning to swim is a life skill … Swimming is a fun, low-cost recreational activity. Swim clubs need functional and adequate training facilities,” said Schneider.
“We need this,” chimed in Erinn Mate.
“I think Thomas Haney is a great location for an outdoor pool,” added Briony Geldeard.
A former competive swimmer from Croatia, Juraj Malcic, said that an outdoor pool is the next logical step for Maple Ridge.
Similar support is found on Facebook to the city’s selection of that site for a swimming spot.
When council decisions usually bring a firestorm of vitriol on social media, most are commending the decision.
”Excellent, thank you,” said Lisa Shepherd.
“Excellent location!” added Jo-Anne Parker Rogers.
And, “it can’t come soon enough,” said Matt Ellis.
Brent Diewold, president of the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club, which would be located next to the new pool, if built, supports the location.
“It will give our club more visibility in the community.”
He wants to make sure there’s enough parking ,though.
The city has already decided that it consult the neighbourhood in September and report back to council on the public feed back at the Oct. 3 council meeting.
Maple Ridge has also asked staff to draw up a year-long consultation process for an indoor aquatic centre, which could cost 10 times that of an outdoor po0l.
If that proceeds, the Haney Neptunes would like that indoor pool to be an Olympic-sized 50-metre long pool that would accommodate regional events.
The Maple Ridge Leisure Centre undergoes a year-long $9-million renovation starting late this year, requiring the closure of the rec and competitive pools.