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ADVANCE TIMES EXCLUSIVE

AT YOUR SERVICE: Future of Aldergrove core up for debate

Question-and-answer feature calling on those elected to office in Langley

Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature called it “At Your Service.”

It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.

Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.

Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley school board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.

The answers provided will be published in their entirety online Sundays.

MOST RECENT – AT YOUR SERVICE: Inflation inevitably hits City taxpayers in the pocketbook

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QUESTION

Langley Township council was asked: What is your vision of Aldergrove’s core a decade from now?

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ANSWERS

Mayor Jack Froese

A. The Aldergrove Core Area Plan was founded on a strong base of community involvement that occurred throughout the core area planning process, so my vision for Aldergrove’s core stems from the planning goals that were developed by the community.

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Councillor Petrina Arnason

A. My vision for Aldergove’s core is as an invigorated and redeveloped urban centre for the surrounding rural and agricultural community.

New development should incorporate livability objectives, including the integration of our climate goals into all development, tree canopy, and green space enhancements, infrastructure development supporting a range of transportation options, including walkability, protecting and enhancing the Bertrand Creek riparian areas and local habitat, developing a range of desirable recreation opportunities, generating arts and culture nodes, and supplying a complementary mix of residential and employment opportunities to enhance community sustainability goals within Aldergrove’s historical context.

Council must support projects that ensure the Aldergrove downtown core is revitalized through well-designed projects, which provide enhanced quality of life for Aldergrove and area residents during the next decade and beyond.

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Councillor David Davis

A. This councillor failed to reply to this query, prior to deadline.

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Councillor Steve Ferguson

A. My Vision for Aldergrove is exciting: A future residential hub for the region!

I believe that Aldergrove will take off in the next decade.

Look at the new ACUCC pool and recreation centre… Creative, fun, one of it’s kind (as a facility user, my wife and family have been there many times).

Out with the old, rundown mall and in with new exciting housing, commercial shops, walkways and green spaces (selling like hotcakes) bringing in new families who want to make Aldergrove their home.

I believe many of the shops on Fraser Highway will renovate/redesign and bring in new and exciting opportunities.

I have lived in Aldergrove, been a board member of the Otter Co-op for nine years, and a long-time member of the Aldergrove Credit Union.

I love Aldergrove Regional Park.

I love the Cruise-In, my son-in-law puts his car in.

I love the drive-in.

The schools are great, the sports fields, biking areas, international border, easy access to Highway #1 (both east and west)… the list just keeps going on.

So to answer your question, my vision for Aldergrove is: “A wonderful place with exciting residential and business opportunities for the future!”

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Councillor Margaret Kunst

A. It’s exciting to imagine what the Aldergrove core may look like 10 years from now, especially knowing new residential and commercial buildings are coming in the future.

My vision for Aldergrove includes a revitalized core with a mix of housing, services and amenities, new places to shop and dine – that residents and visitors alike can enjoy.

People bring vibrancy to a community, so of course it needs to have a really great plaza or public square where people can come together and celebrate special events or simply sit and have lunch with a friend.

New streets with beautiful trees, connected greenways, cycling and walking pathways that are accessible for all, incorporating the gem that is Bertrand Creek for people to enjoy.

Aldergrove has a great story to tell, my vision includes a tangible way to show and share that history to preserve its unique heritage.

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Councillor Bob Long

A. Like many small towns, Aldergrove has its challenges, one of which is Fraser Highway and the traffic it brings; the other is that the shopping malls on each end of town have made it difficult for the downtown section to survive.

What is needed is ‘feet on the street’ – people living in and frequenting the core to support the businesses there. Now that more housing is coming with the Aldergrove Town Centre and other developments, things may improve during the next 10 years.

The recent decision by council to refuse a federal grant to build a pedestrian-centred gateway plaza in Aldergrove is a real disappointment, as such a project would have benefited the community immensely.

In order for a healthy vision for downtown Aldergrove to become a reality, divisive politics needs to stay out of the process and instead allow proper and proven planning principles guide its future.

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Councillor Kim Richter

A. My vision for downtown Aldergrove 10 years from now is a vibrant, walkable community that shows how residents connect daily with the best parts of their community.

Downtown Aldergrove needs to move away from its current “drive-through” status to “walk-through” status where residents daily celebrate what makes Aldergrove special. This includes its unique history, and its strong, vibrant community connection.

For starters, I see big trees that line and shade Fraser Highway throughout the downtown.

Next, I see daily truck traffic and excessive vehicles gone from the downtown Aldergrove core and replaced with walkable, pedestrian-friendly streets.

Thirdly, I see successful, well-frequented local businesses located in mixed-use development along Fraser Highway, not old one-storey strip malls. I see vibrant outdoor cafes/restaurants lining this street.

Fourthly, I see a mix of housing types that makes Aldergrove remain an “affordable”, multi-generational, and attractive/welcoming place to live that is pedestrian-safe and family-friendly.

Finally, I see a real public plaza, not a half-finished plaza that also serves as a car park. Further this real public plaza is used by many residents every day to visit with each other and talk, not just three times a year for parades.

Of all the communities that make up Langley Township, Aldergrove is one of the strongest in terms of its sense of community and connection. We see this in its annual festivals and events. This is what Aldergrove has always been, and this is what we need to protect and cherish as a key part of Aldergrove’s future.

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Councillor Blair Whitmarsh

A. I envision Aldergrove having a walkable downtown core that includes an expanded commercial and residential centre on the current Aldergrove mall and old Alder Inn locations.

The expansion of outdoor gathering spaces, greenways, and walkable connections will be central to the Aldergrove core.

Enhanced cycling lanes, sidewalks, and public transit access with be integral to the overall plan.

The ACUCC will be a central location for gathering, recreation, and spending time with others.

I see a community that people will enjoy to visit and proud to call home.

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Councillor Eric Woodward

A. There is no question that Aldergrove needs vision and commitment.

This includes actually doing many of the elements within the Aldergrove Core Area Plan, along with other new ideas.

In 2018, I ran for Township council on a platform of big ideas for Aldergrove.

We got them done.

The Aldergrove Town Centre was fast-tracked and is finally about to break ground this year.

Its first phase contains a new community-owned parking facility for true walkability and to help smaller lots redevelop.

We created a new Aldergrove Amenity Fund to ensure Aldergrove shares in the amenity revenue from development. We moved on from the Alder Inn.

Now, going forward from here, Aldergrove deserves more than half-built parking lots called plazas done without even asking the community for input, justified with misinformation and excuses.

I am very much looking forward to outlining my vision, proposed direction and new ideas for downtown Aldergrove during the upcoming municipal election later this year.

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UP NEXT

Next week’s Langley school district trustees are being asked: What is the future of middle-school education in rural Langley and Walnut Grove, where it has not yet been implemented?

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Watch for their answers online Sunday.

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Langley Townshipmunicipal politics