As a campaign to preserve the former Aldergrove Fire Hall gathers steam, Langley Township council has opened the door for a community discussion about the future of the 60 year old building.
A delegation from the Alder Grove Heritage Society (AGHS) appeared before council’s Jan. 21 public meeting asking the Township to designate the old fire hall, located at 2900 272nd Street, as a heritage building, and to protect it from demolition as planned in order to push 29th Avenue through to 273rd Street.
Council approved a motion to consult with the community on the potential for preserving the building, as well as hiring an independent consultant to provide input on the proposed heritage value of the building.
The Township purchased the land and building from Rob and Maureen Robinson, owners of Milsean Shoppe, last June for $1.6 million. Milsean Shoppe, which closed in December 2018, had won a Langley Heritage award in 2011 for the restoration work performed by the Robinsons on the former fire hall.
The Township also purchased the property directly behind the fire hall for the planned connector road at 29th Ave., between 272nd and 273rd streets. This planned road would go through the former fire hall itself, necessitating its demolition.
The demolition would not take place in the immediate future, as the building, which has rental suites upstairs, is leased to, and occupied by, the Robinsons until April 2020.
The former ice arena property, immediately to the south of the former fire hall, was sold by the Township to Burnaby-based Willingdon Care Centre for development of a new senior citizens’ residential complex.
AGHS secretary Tami Quiring told council that, “It is hoped that Langley Township Council will see the wisdom in preserving the old fire hall and awarding stewardship of the building to the Alder Grove Heritage Society to operate as a Community Archive Museum, with a twist. Additional components to the museum would be proper archival storage space, something that is lacking in the Telephone Museum building, as well as a small coffee shop, local gift shop and community meeting space. The society is in need of expansion space, and rehabilitating the old fire hall would be a very cost effective way to gain that new space.”
Querying notes that there are a number of revenue-generating strategies that would be explored for the firehall.
“We are aware of the Township of Langley’s diverse stewardship agreements for publicly-owned properties, which are designed to maximize community benefit, while minimizing any encumbrance on the Township,” said Quiring.
“With the (planned) seniors’ facility next door, we believe this would provide a unique, walkable, intergenerational, mixed-use historical space, bringing together many different groups, volunteers, seniors, students, tourists, as well as a new generation of residents, to frequent and enjoy.”
The heritage proposal has also received written support from Langley Heritage Society and Heritage B.C.