The long-standing Alder Inn will not be demolished to make room for greenspace in the heart of downtown Aldergrove – as of yet.
Langley Township mayor and council deferred a motion to demolish the building at Monday’s council meeting.
Councillor Margaret Kunst characterized opinions on the matter: “Some people have an attachment to the building, other people can’t stand it.”
Kunst said, “I want to allow for the community to at least let their voices be heard.”
All but one member of council, Coun. Eric Woodward, voted to delay making a decision on the fate of the building until a July 13 meeting, to bide time for Aldergrove residents to share their thoughts on the matter.
Coun. Kim Richter said she expects a final decision to be made about Alder Inn by the following council meeting, on July 27.
Earlier in the June 15 meeting, Township administrator Mark Bakken estimated the demolition cost of Alder Inn – including asbestos abatement – at a preliminary figure of $250,000.
Bakken added that the building shows signs of “significant deterioration” and “deficiencies” that could hinder its immediate reuse.
‘It has to come down’
As Kunst put it, “I’m not going to be advocating to save the building. I’ve been through it – it has to come down.”
Coun. Blair Whitmarsh said, “There’s not much of [the building] that’s redeeming.”
“This doesn’t have to be contentious as it is,” voiced Coun. Bob Long, a vocal advocate for preservation of the 71-year-old hotel.
“There’s passion here because some of these decisions are irreversible.”
If demolished, “It would still be important for me to commemorate” the building’s long history, Woodward expressed.
Coun. David Davis emphasized, “We bought this corner lot with the hotel on it because it was a strategic place, one of four corners right in the middle of Aldergrove, for revitalization purposes.”
After spending $5.4-million on its purchase (along with two neighbouring parking lots) “we have to make the right decision,” Davis said.
Options for redevelopment
Jason Chu, the Township’s community and policy planning manager, submitted a report to council that outlined three ideal options for the 0.93 acre site – provided that the hotel is first demolished.
Option one would see the properties developed independently of each other, with two five-storey mixed use buildings with residential units above.
For this development, two levels of parking would be created underground for residential tenants. The last plot of land would serve as a communal parking space, not unlike how it currently stands.
Option two would see the closure of a lane between two land parcels, facilitating a “more pedestrian-friendly development” with two, larger five-storey mixed-use buildings.
Option three – which was said to “provide the highest level of density,” would see mixed-use buildings on each of the three plots of land, one with nine townhouse units that will “maximize the Township’s return on investment.”
In the interim, once the Alder Inn is knocked down and rubble cleared, the three properties could accommodate 120 parking stalls to serve as overflow parking for the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre during busy summer months.
Additionally, as well as public parking, other potential interim uses include a small-scale urban plaza or community gardens.