Andrew Sigalet, member of the Bertrand Creek Enhancement Society (BCES) and a resident of Aldergrove for the past ten years, bends down to pick up remnants of garbage in Vanetta Park.
The 40-year-old is a part of the non-profit group that tends to the creek with a focus on the area north of the proposed Aldergrove Town Centre, with volunteer-based cleanups occuring between August and September each year.
“The mall property has been the main focus of our clean up efforts throughout the years,” Sigalet said, “Its vacancy has resulted in a consistent amount of garbage being dumped in the creek.”
The Bertrand Creek crosses 264 Street, just north of 33 Avenue, and runs south near 268 Street eventually crossing 33 Street and flowing south up beside the mall.
The Salish Sucker and Nooksack Dace are both species of endangered fish that swim in the creek, as well as Salmon which have been seen to spawn as far as the mall property, Sigalet said.
In the Janda Group’s development proposal – unveiled at a community information meeting last Tuesday – Phase Two included a six-level residential building “E” where the Bertrand Creek exists to the north.
“We were shocked along with everyone else during the meeting,” Sigalet said.
In this area, the Janda Group plans to construct new footbridges, widen existing walking paths and “reclaim more green space than before,” according to principal architect Colin Hogan of Abbotsford-based Focus Architecture.
“From our perspective, the Janda Group’s plan is the best plan we’ve seen come forward so far,” Sigalet said, mentioning a host of other proposals that never made it to the Township for approval.
This would include an additional 6 metres of public pathway and enhanced ecological areas that begin at the banks of the creek.
“That area now – in the concept drawing – shows a trail as opposed to a road,” Sigalet added, “Such enhancement along the creek would take away from some of the negative things that happen there now.”
Though BCES reached out to the Janda Group on numerous occasions before the proposal unveiling, they never heard back.
“Sonny Janda wouldn’t divulge anything about what he was planning prior to the meeting,” Sigalet said.
“The downtown core, according to the 2010 Downtown Core plan, is where I want to see all the development, though the plan could change by the time it gets to council,” Sigalet said.
“Whatever it is – if it’s good for the creek it is good for us,” Sigalet finished.
Formed in 1993, BCES consists of concerned and dedicated residents of Aldergrove and are always looking for new members to join. To learn more or enlist you can visit www.bertrandcreek.ca