Aldergrove is one of Langley’s less affluent communities, but over the course of 10 weeks, its residents are striving to raise their collective wealth by $1 million.
Guided by financial experts and a team of money detectives, the neighbourhood will strive to earn or save $100,000 a week in a series of community and individual challenges related to food, housing, transportation and other costs.
If they succeed, the financial lessons they learn along with a chance to win a weekly prize of $10,000 and a grand prize of $100,000, will change their lives forever.
It’s all thanks to the Oprah Winfrey Network Canada, which hired Force Four Productions to film the process.
Force Four formed MDM Media to produce the show over a period of three months, and on Monday, producer Keith Giesbrecht told Township council that if film permit fees were relaxed, the company would return the almost $16,000 in savings to Aldergrove.
The problem facing council is that the Municipal Act forbids local authorities from waiving fees paid by for-profit organizations.
On Monday afternoon, Giesbrecht said that Force Four is investing $125,000 in financial advisors and assistance to Aldergrove to show residents how to reduce debt, increase income, and find money they didn’t know they had — including funds owed to them by the Canada Revenue Agency. He added that production employees have injected into the Aldergrove economy more than $80,000 in food, gas and other necessities.
Residents have formed a car-pooling club, are compiling a coupon book to encourage local shopping, and organizing transportation links to help residents find work at Gloucester Estates.
Giesbrecht said that the production company has already paid the Township $12,595 in permits, expects to pay $3,000 to $4,000 more, and pledges to return it all to Aldergrove if the fees are waived.
“It doesn’t go into Oprah’s pocket,” Giesbrecht said.
Council approved a motion asking staff to investigate options, and provide the mayor and councillors with copies of the pertinent provincial statutes and Township policies.