Aldergrove has heart

Whatever else the community of Aldergrove may or may not have, it does have heart.

In a physical sense the heart of the community, downtown Aldergrove, is in pretty sad shape, but every so often something happens that shows that the “human heart” of Aldergrove is alive and well.

The latest example of this was the Force Four TV Network meeting at Aldergrove Secondary. People showed up, and people spoke up, for their community. My first thought when seeing the crowd in the ACSS dramnasium was to wonder why all this interest in a TV show, but it soon became abundantly clear that this was about promoting our community, with Bruce Heslop of the fledgling Aldergrove Business Association, as chief cheerleader.

As the meeting went on these words describing our community came to mind – resilience, initiative and pride. Aldergrove does not give up in the face of adversity, Aldergrove finds ways to meet its own needs and Aldergrove has pride. All three of these characters were displayed at the Force Four meeting, but there are many other examples.

One of the examples that came up at the meeting was the middle school issue. When faced with the reality of declining enrolment, the Aldergrove community turned its energies to working with the school district in finding ways to turn adversity into opportunity. When it seemed all that work was to be overturned, with no consideration of community effort and wishes, the community stood together to respectfully and successfully lobby for its middle school. That middle school and its unique relationship with the high school are now seen as a community asset.

Aldergrove Fair Days is another example of resilience, initiative and pride.

Aldergrove’s first Country Fair happened in 1912 and there has been a Fair of some kind here in Aldergrove ever since. When the Agricultural Society had become so small that doing the Fair became overwhelming they refused to let it go. The Agricultural Society teamed up with the Aldergrove Festival Society and Aldergrove Fair Days was born. The Fair still honours its agricultural roots with exhibits of produce, handiwork and hobbies entered by community members of all ages, but it’s also a modern family event with a parade, a midway and entertainment to appeal to all.

When the Township decided it could no longer afford the hanging baskets decorating Aldergrove streets, Aldergrove did not just accept or complain, but the Aldergrove Business Association and the All Seasons Garden Centre went to Council with a proposal. Last week Council voted to re-instate our beautiful hanging baskets.

Individual people make up a community and Aldergrove people embody the values reflected in the community. Last week the newest Langley Elementary School was named for Lynne Fripps. The school may be in the Willoughby area, but Aldergrove can be very proud. Lynne Fripps was an Aldergrove person dedicated to this community. She was involved with Aldergrove Community Enhancement, Bertrand Creek Enhancement and Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services.

The last time I saw Lynne was at the ANS Office for a meeting. A few days later she was in Langley Hospice. Community was important to Lynne right to the end. The “Aldergrove” signs at each end of our town are part of Lynne’s legacy.

I haven’t heard yet whether Aldergrove has been chosen by Force Four for a TV show, although I hear the decision is imminent. Other news has not been good. Like most of Aldergrove I was sad to hear that Aldergrove Lake is no more. It was a summer tradition for anyone growing up in this community and its loss means there will be even fewer accessible, recreational facilities for Aldergrove families. However, we know Aldergrove has “heart” and whatever happens this community will find a way to move forward.

-author Hattie Hogeterp writes a monthly opinion piece about Aldergrove for The Star.

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