The 75

Surrey ready to build two new pools

Critics say city needs bigger facility to attract international events.

Surrey has announced details on the construction of two splashy new pools.

One of the pools, a $40-million facility to be built in Guildford at 15105 105 Ave., has been on that community’s wish list for more than a decade.

The city will build an eight-lane, 50-metre pool in Guildford that will include a secondary pool that will include a swirl pool, tot play area, water slide, therapy pool and leisure pool.

The project will also have a parkade.

The structure was designed by award-winning architect Bing Thom, who also designed Central City and Surrey’s new library.

The $50-million, 50-metre Grandview pool at 24 Avenue and 168 Street will have 10 lanes and Surrey’s first 10-meter diving platform.

Both pools, city staff say, will be built to FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) standards.

However, a few residents aren’t enthused with the plan, primarily because they say neither pool is suitable for national or international competitive swimming and diving events.

Among the critics is Aart Looye, a masters swimming coach who says neither the Guildford or Grandview pools will be adequate for major competitive events.

“(Both) of them will not be suitable for any type of economic tourism of any sort whatsoever,” Looye said Tuesday. “You can’t hold one provincial meet there, even though they say that they are.”

He believes the pool planned for Guildford is too large for the parking the city has planned.

“There’s always a shortage of parking, that whole area is complete (traffic) chaos,” Looye said. He believes a world-class pool could be built in Grandview by reducing the size of the pool in Guildford.

“They can build a 37-and-a-half-metre pool there, and they can fit it in and make it quite nice,” Looye said.

By reducing its size, he said, the parkade will be unnecessary, meaning more money would be available for the Grandview facility.

City staff say they consulted with experts about best practices for building pools and found that the planned designs were the best for the service of the community, while fitting the bill for competitive events.

The Grandview site will accommodate another 50-metre pool at a future date, if that becomes viable.

With that configuration, it’s quite possible to receive construction grants from senior levels of government when bidding on specific events, parks staff say.

The pools are expected to be completed in the fall of 2014.

It will bring the number of indoor pools in Surrey to six, with half of those being 50-metre pools.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com

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