The designer of the planned Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre was taking questions from area residents Tuesday at a series of public open houses in South Surrey.
Architect Stuart Rothnie attended three forums in one day, one held in the morning at the South Surrey indoor pool, followed by two at the South Surrey Rec Centre during the lunch and dinner hours.
“We’re here to get as much feedback from the community as we can in terms of what they would like to see,” Rothnie said.
The design of the new facility is at “a very early stage” Rothnie said, but preliminary design presentation posters at the forum show it will feature a main pool that can be used for both competition and recreation, with 10 lanes, diving boards and a dive platform.
The preliminary design also calls for a leisure pool with a “beach entry” (one that gradually slopes from the edge of the pool into the water, becoming progressively deeper) and a shallow “tot splash zone.”
The facility will likely also include steam and sauna rooms, along with a hot pool.
Rothnie said there is plenty of time to adjust the initial specifications as a result of resident feedback.
“We’re still 2½ years from opening the doors,” Rothnie told Peace Arch News.
Rothnie said feedback appeared positive, though residents expressed general concern about the rapid pace of growth in what used to be a “semi-rural” part of the city.
That did not seem to colour their opinion of the aquatic centre, he said, as most respondents agreed the facility is needed.
Some user groups have complained that the pool, as proposed, isn’t big enough.
“Anything is an improvement, but why build it so small when they know it’s too small?” White Rock Divers founder and owner Bev Boys told PAN in December.
“For competitive meets, all you need is 50 metres, but for practice and everything else, you need more.”
Pacific Sea Wolves Swim Club head coach Brad Dingey echoed Boys’ statements, saying a larger competitive pool is necessary.
People who attended the open houses were invited to fill out a questionnaire about the features they would like to see in the aquatic centre. Among the 16 questions on the three-page survey, residents were asked how often they would attend the centre, how they would get there and what amenities they would be using.
The proposed facility is slated for the corner of 24 Avenue and 168 Street.
The second open house on the Grandview project is scheduled for May, when the architectural firm plans to present more detailed plans based on the feedback from the Tuesday meetings.
The final open house is expected in July.
Current plans call for construction of the centre to start this fall with completion by the summer of 2014.
In addition, comments can also be emailed to grandviewAqua@hacma.ca.