A redevelopment of downtown Aldergrove’s core got a vote of confidence from Langley Township council Monday evening.
Council unanimously approved third reading of the Janda Group’s redevelopment plans for the Aldergrove Mall site on 272nd Street.
The Janda Group is proposing to replace the largely-defunct and empty mall with three six-storey buildings with condos and commercial space on the bottom floor, 10-storey building with parking, and a residential 12-storey high rise.
The project will proceed in phases, and will include protection of Bertrand Creek, which runs along one edge of the site.
The councillors were all generally in favour of the project, which several said will be a key piece of revitalizing and transforming downtown Aldergrove, a goal of councils going back more than a decade.
“I believe in 10 years we may look back and see the value added to Aldergrove,” said Councillor David Davis.
Coun. Kim Richter mentioned former councillor Charlie Fox’s support of the project convinced her to give it her vote. “And I’m very happy to do so,” she said.
Several councillors, including Coun. Steve Ferguson, mentioned the slow decline of the old mall, which saw more and more stores close over the years, until the structure was all but abandoned.
“Now here we go, a resurrection,” said Ferguson.
“I think that this is a wonderful exciting time, a continuation of all the work the Township has done towards the revitalization of Aldergrove,” said Coun. Petrina Arnason.
“I think it’s going to be a great walkable community, I think the parkade is going to be great for the growth of Aldergrove,” said Coun. Blair Whitmarsh.
But he also raised issues about the bike lanes that will run on the main drive through the complex.
“The lanes as they are now to me aren’t protected,” said Whitmarsh.
Most councillors felt the lanes were sufficient, as the road through the complex isn’t a major arterial road, but the council spent some time discussing whether better options could be found in the future.
Mayor Jack Froese noted that there will be an alternative bike path near Bertrand Creek for those going around the site, but he said he believed it would be safe enough for people who needed to stop to do their shopping inside the development as well.
Two further phases are contemplated in the future before the site is completed.
Council spent some time considering funding to acquire one of the key pieces of the project, a large parkade intended to serve the whole downtown area.
The Janda Group has proposed a four-storey parking structure as part of one of the blocks, the 10-storey structure, and is to give the structure back to the Township at cost.
Councillor Eric Woodward put forward a parallel motion about the parkade’s financing at the start of the debate.
At a public hearing earlier this month, some residents expressed approval of the project, while several neighbours of the project expressed concerns with its density.
A fourth and final reading is still required to finalize the council’s approval of the first phase.