Is this Alder Inn’s end?

Heritage lovers oppose demo of 71-year-old Aldergrove building, want it preserved

According to a newspaper clipping from Vancouver Sun in 1962, Aldergrove Hotel co-owner Eva Ingersoll was dubbed an honorary community fire chief after a decade of service taking emergency calls and firing up a siren atop the Alder Inn hotel building’s roof. (Alder Grove Heritage Society)

Six Alder Grove Heritage Society directors are asking Langley Township not to demolish the long-standing Alder Inn – for financial reasons.

On Tuesday, June 16, the group announced its official stance on a motion passed the previous week by council to topple the 71-year-old building in the downtown core.

“It’s not the best use of taxpayer dollars,” president Tami Quiring elaborated.

The Township acquired the Alder Inn, including two lots that are currently used for parking, through a $5.4-million deal in June 2019.

RELATED: Langley Township purchases Alder Inn and neighbouring lots for $5.4-million

At a June 15 meeting, Township administrator Mark Bakken estimated the demolition cost of Alder Inn at a preliminary figure of $250,000.

Councillor Bob Long was quick to question the estimated cost.

Long is worried that costs included with demolition – such as asbestos abatement and land clearing – will result in a “extremely high” figure that is much larger, he said.

Coun. Eric Woodward clarified that existing Township reserves, not money sourced from property tax increases, would be used to fund Alder Inn’s demolition.

As such, $125,000 would come from building reserves, $75,000 from the council contingency fund, and $50,000 from unused 2020 grant distributions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“How can [the source of funding] not be described as using taxpayer money? When all funds come from the taxpayer,” Long said at the meeting.

Mayor Jack Froese added, “It’s true, all Township of Langley money is derived from taxpayers – we are stewards of it.”

READ MORE: The Alder Inn: ‘Should it be saved?’

The Alder Grove Heritage Society is asking that options for the building and adjacent properties be explored before council makes “an irreversible decision.”

The Alder Inn, at 27214 Fraser Hwy., was first built in 1949. It was most recently known for being the last remaining strip club in the Township, and one of the only left in B.C.

Recent heritage society research reveals that the building’s history is that of community involvement.

Its first owners, Jay and Eva Ingersoll, would serve patrons out of its cafe and host events out of its banquet room.

People from all across North America stayed as guests at the inn, many whose names were published in the local newspaper – which served as a sort of a public guest book through the 1950s, according to the heritage society.

Ingersoll, an Elks member, installed a siren atop the hotel’s roof to alert volunteer firefighters that their help was needed to quell a fire within the community.

Eva, his wife, would wind up the siren when local residents called the hotel’s fire alarm telephone line.

By the siren’s retirement in 1962 – when police took over dispatching – Eva was made an honourary fire chief as a way to thank the business owner for a decade of service to the community fire department.

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DIGITAL DIALOGUE: A selection of feedback from our online readers

Should the Alder Inn be demolished or preserved? Township decides soon.

• Dennis Gadicke: Tear it down, but let’s build a structure that pays homage to it. The round wall. Or recreate the lobby

• Brandon Priest: I say take an excavator and demolish it!

• Stuart Ross: Put the dancers back to work, so many guys have been to this place. It’s a landmark.

• Sean Funk: I’ve lived in this town since 1984 and have never been.

• It’s such an eyesore. Needs to be torn down.

• Stuart Ross: Rebuilt it and discover some of aldergroves history.

• Jeff Bradburn: Wow that long in Aldergrove and you never had fun or supported your local watering hole?

• Dennis Gadicke: I moved to Aldergrove in ‘71. Had a few tussles in there. I’m gonna miss it.

• Justin Hogrebe: Preserve it and put the dancers back in.

• Rebekah Hiebert: Demolished for sure.

• Mick Johnston: Nuke it… I know there are those that think about heritage… but most of downtown needs to be mowed down and really replanned… old run down bar, 7/11, junkie daycare/ Hastie market/ royal bank… at main cross roads… Main and Hastings is as nice! The city needs to buy it and develop community fountains and gardens / park on those three corners

• John Theroux: Remove for paid parking.

• Nicole Traill: It’s done, if it’s not the alder inn then it doesn’t matter.

• Christian Taff: Tear it down unless your gonna out more strippers in there.

• Dave Pandher: That place shop should be burned to the slab lol.

• Greg-Jen Pluhowy: Demolished.

• Alayne Bateson: Demolish.

• Annette S Hudon: Demolished.

• Kim Smith Cutler: Preserve.

• Judy O’Brien: Demolish period.

• Lola Howat: Demolish.

• Kate Delacherois: Demolish.

• Norm Stelnicki: Demolish.

• Tamara Neilson: Demolish.

• Melanie Plett: Demolis

• Justine Nicholls: Demolish.

• Michael La Rochelle: Gone.

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