For four hours on Saturday afternoon the beloved old Aldergrove Arena was filled with Aldergrove residents getting their final skate around the 45 year old rink.
It was a last blast for public skating and both skating and skate rentals were free of charge to see the old arena out in style.
For some the arena has been part of their lives from the day the arena opened 45 years ago, when a private residential developer named Jack Loeppky built and operated the arena as an inducement for families to purchase homes in Aldergrove. It opened in 1974 around the same time that Langley Township council built the publicly-funded arena in Brookswood, now known as the George Preston arena.
There was a severe shortage of arena ice in the area at the time, and the Aldergrove community welcomed the new arena with open arms. The Aldergrove Minor Hockey Association and Aldergrove Skating Club were soon to follow, establishing a viable and lively hockey and figure skating scene in this community. Ten years ago the arena also welcomed the Aldergrove Kodiaks Junior B Hockey Club when it was established here.
Loeppky operated the arena briefly before selling it to Langley Township, which has operated the arena continuously since that time. However, with the opening of the new Township ice arena and swimming complex on Fraser Highway this fall, the old arena property will be sold for redevelopment as an apartment complex.
The arena ice is being removed this week, and the arena’s concrete floor will be used this summer for the ball hockey club sport before the building is decommissioned and demolished.
The Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre, and the outdoor portion known as the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience, is on target to open this summer, according to Langley Township.
The Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre will feature a 500-seat arena with an NHL size ice surface and an indoor running track around the second level. Also inside will be a fitness centre, fitness studio room, and a multipurpose room.
Outside, the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience will include a canopy-covered outdoor pool area with a shallower leisure pool, a six-lane 25-metre competitive swimming pool, including a deep end for diving, and a hot tub. Adjacent to the pools will be a sauna and a steam room. The pool area will be open year-round. It will be heated in part by solar panels and by using excess energy produced from cooling the ice at the adjacent arena.
The exterior complex will also feature a seasonal outdoor water park with waterslides, a tidal pool, current channel, a children’s aquaplay structure, dry playground, and picnic area.
The Aldergrove Credit Union and the Otter Co-op’s initial financial contribution of $250,000 each will be for the first five-year operating period.