Crews have begun tearing down two buildings on the Gateway Plaza site in Aldergrove.
On Monday, workers in protective gear could be seen using an industrial vacuum machine to extract insulation containing asbestos before the teardown begins.
In response to a Langley Advance Times query, the Township issued an unsigned email statement that said the demolition of the buildings, located at 27012 Fraser Hwy., was expected to be completed by the end of November.
“The interim use will be for parking, with the ultimate long-term use being subject to Council direction and further public consultation,” the statement said.
In 2017, the Township bought the three-quarter-acre commercial lot directly next door to the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre (ACUCC) for $3.7 million.
Two of the three buildings on the site are empty, their leases having expired in 2020, while the third, a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, still has a lease until 2025.
In January, Township council rejected a proposal that would have created a plaza, at least temporarily, at the site, using a $750,000 federal grant.
The Township had successfully applied for a Canada Community Revitalization Fund grant, that had a tight deadline.
With a $1 million budget, the Township would have to spend half of that by March, but Ottawa would cover $750,000 of the total project cost.
Ramin Seifi, general manager of engineering and community development proposed using the money to demolish the empty buildings on the site, then revamp it with open public space and “street furniture” such as benches and landscaping.
A majority of council rejected the proposal by a 5-4 vote on Jan. 17, with the “no” votes wondering whether an interim project was worth pursuing, grant or no grant.
Councillor Eric Woodward said the site needed planning and consultation before the council voted on what to do there, saying “this whole process has gone off the rails.”
Coun. Bob Long, who voted for the proposal, said the grant would have helped the Township pay for demolishing structures, calling the rejection “a huge shortsighted decision by council.”
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