For the seven commercial tenants that occupy the mall at the corner of Fraser Highway and 270th Street it has been a constant battle to keep parking spots in front of their shops so that appointments run smoothly and customers remain happy. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Nearby businesses plagued by Aldergrove pool parking troubles

Township intends to ‘respect leases currently in place’ and not demolish the adjacent strip mall

Business owner Joanne Nicolato was the first resident to advocate for what is now known as the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre (ACCUC).

Nicolato, who fought for the pool for seven years, said she has witnessed its impact on the community since opening in June.

She recalls going into the centre this winter and seeing local families utilize various recreation elements.

“I watched a man and his 14-year-old son go up to the gym, I watched students go to public skating, and people go into the pool all at once. And I just started to cry [tears of joy],” Nicolato told the Aldergrove Star.

“I realized the community finally has a place to meet,” she said.

But what Nicolato did not account for – as the owner of Alderbrook Health and Wellness Center in a strip mall adjacent to the ACUCC – was the parking fiasco that would arise as a result.

Nicolato took up shop in January 2016 with a vision “of making people feel more comfortable, not clinical, and still getting their health needs met,” with massage therapy, clinical counselling, chiropractic, and naturopathic services.

But the lack of available parking has in fact been a source of stress for both Nicolato and her clients, she said, who are often stuck circling the mall lot in search of parking spots to get to their appointments.

RELATED: New Aldergrove pool parking frustrates neighbours during busy season

She’s not alone in being frustrated by the congestion.

For the six other commercial tenants that occupy the mall at the corner of Fraser Highway and 270th Street, including a doctor and hairdresser, it has been a constant battle to keep parking spots in front of their shops so that appointments run smoothly and customers remain happy.

“How do you keep going with all of that stress? We’re pulling our hair out,” Nicolato said.

The Langley Township owns both the ACUCC property and an adjacent one that the strip mall sits on.

“We’ve had patients with disabilities who’ve had to walk long distances to get to the doctor’s office,” she explained.

The owners of another business, Hirame Sushi, has taken it upon themselves to put up bright green poster boards that read “restaurant customers parking ONLY.”

Out of the 59 parking spots that line the lot outside of the strip mall, 32 are clearly marked and set aside for mall patrons and have been since the construction of the ACUCC.

“The Township took half of our spots,” Nicolato said, explaining that parking has been included in her lease, though the amount is not specified.

Before the ACUCC, her customers had the whole lot to choose from when parking, she said.

Up until this summer, several mall parking spaces went unmarked before the Township commissioned the painting of “mall only” spots.

Nicolato said that “this summer has been worse because now everyone knows that the pool is here.”

RELATED: Aldergrove rec centre parking imposes on adjacent businesses: Letter

Essence Hair Studio has provided hair care and styling services for 17 years out of the strip mall.

Owner and hairstylist Marina Alizada said that pool visitors often ignore the “reserved for mall tenants and guests” signs the Township installed and blatantly park in mall-designated spaces.

“My customers have to look for parking before they come. That takes a long time and sometimes they can’t even find any,” Alizada said.“Especially during the summer.”

One local customer, Jeff Stewart, expressed his concerns about hard-to-find parking at the strip mall.

“The other day I could barely maneuver through the parking lot, let alone find a spot,” Stewart said.

RELATED: Shame that pool parking is such a problem: Letter

The Aldergrove Star reached out to the Township’s property manager Scott Thompson and was told that the Township has “been working on plans over the past four weeks to regulate parking for mall tenants and customers.”

The only solution Nicolato sees is for the Township to “give the entire parking lot back” for mall parking, and ticket and tow any violators.

“We had no problems before when it was that way,” she added.

As it is, Nicolato said it is confusing for motorists.

“People ask me ‘well which is mall parking and which is not?’”

Nicolato has two years left on her current lease – and “technically [isn’t] going anywhere,” she said.

In response to rumours about plans for the strip mall to be demolished to make room for more pool parking, Thompson responded that the Township intends to “respect leases that are currently in place.”

“We have no long-range plans that I can comment on at this time,” Thompson added.

 

For the seven commercial tenants that occupy the mall at the corner of Fraser Highway and 270th Street it has been a constant battle to keep parking spots in front of their shops so that appointments run smoothly and customers remain happy. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Joanne Nicolato, of Alderbrook Health and Wellness Center, is calling upon the Township of Langley to ‘give the parking lot back’ to commercial tenants at the strip mall adjacent to the new pool and community centre. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

The owners of another business, Hirame Sushi, has taken it upon themselves to put up bright green poster boards that read “restaurant customers parking ONLY.” (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Owner of Essence Hair Studio, a 17-year-old business in the strip mall, said that pool visitors ignore the “reserved for mall tenants and guests” signs the Township installed. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Just Posted

Damp weather prompts extreme weather alert by Langley shelter

Homeless advised to come in from the rain

Langley Christian Lightning makes finals at Tsumura basketball invitational

Bronze medal match Saturday night at Langley Events Centre

Walnut Grove Gators move up at basketball tourney

The Gators won their first game Thursday

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, Langley toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Giants defenceman in Czech Republic for Christmas

Eigtheen-year-old Bowen Byram is be part of the Canada team selected for the world juniors

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

Encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside is one of many that have sprung up in B.C.

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read