Langley Township council received a heartfelt request from the president of Alder Grove Heritage Society (AGHS) Tami Quiring on Friday.
Quiring implored council to carefully consider the future of the Alder Inn building – on the corner of 272nd Street and Fraser Highway – which stands vacant after a Sept. 20 fire.
The Township acquired the Alder Inn, including two parking lots, through a $5.4-million deal in June.
As the building stands – 71 years after its glory days and after showcasing exotic dancers for decades until its June sale – it may not look like much.
But Quiring maintains that the hotel once played “an important role” in Aldergrove’s economy as a banquet-space, reputable cafe, and eatery that sold liquor and was “the crown jewel” of downtown.
“While I know not every building can be saved, the question is should it be saved?” Quiring queried.
“My nostalgic gut reaction is yes, I would love to see a buyer found for the Aldergrove Hotel who would have an interest in perhaps restoring it to its former glory days,” she elaborated. Days like the 1950s when a quaint little cafe served patrons, according to Black Press Media archives.
Coun. Kim Richter was quick to speak up against preserving the inn.
“I have lived in Langley for 35 years now and in all this time (representing half of the Alder Inn lifespan) that building has housed a strip club,” Richter posted online.
“I have absolutely no appetite or desire to preserve a building that has allowed women to be victimized and abused in our community. This is not a history to be celebrated or proud of and the sooner that building comes down, the better.”
Richter maintains if a decision regarding the Alder Inn’s preservation reaches council, she will vote against it.
She would prefer instead, a new building erected, with some sort of plaque nearby to commemorates the hotel’s “very early” years.
Another Coun., Bob Long, an Aldergrove resident, argues that the building could be repurposed.
“If not, it should remain standing until another appropriate proposal is approved,” Long shared with the Aldergrove Star.
Another option in the interim, Long says, is to use the inn’s facade to depict murals of the community’s unique history – much like the example of several Fort Langley buildings.
Ultimately, Quiring said it is in Alder Grove Heritage Society’s constitution “to make an effort to identify, conserve and preserve the town’s heritage.”
“I would be remiss as current AGHS president not to speak up for the building,” she maintained.