BREAKING NEWS – Aldergrove has been sold out…. A just released Press Release – Council announces what they call progress of the Old Mall site!

Posted: September 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

It is interesting how an election campaign instills panic on the part of politicians! Bob Long has just released an announcement on the old Aldergrove Center Mall property along with a letter / endorsement of the current Council from Sonny Janda! Reading this letter and the plan can only lead one to be furious at the incompetence of those working on this concept! Who is responsible?

Everyone knows how long all of us in Aldergrove have been waiting for some activity on this site and from time to time there have been hints that something will be coming forward. Well tonight (Sunday Night) it came forward all right and in my opinion it is a complete disaster. It is an insult to the intelligence of our community, when is enough enough for Aldergrove?

This site is THE prime development site in Aldergrove. It is the site that any and all redevelopment of Aldergrove will be measured against. As our community moves forward and grows in population we have to stand together and against initiatives such as this that do nothing more than make the statement, lets throw this at them and they will like it. Just like the INDOOR POOL that became an Outdoor Pool against all promises of Council.

The Township of Langley has spent upwards of $80+ million in new sewer lines and disposal as well as Metro Water for Aldergrove and Gloucester over the past decade to service a growing community that needs redevelopment to serve an ever growing population. Back in 2010 / 11, I initiated a NEW Core Community Plan that has been widely accepted by the community. This plan of this site, if you can call it that, looks like it was created on the back of a napkin, Aldergrove deserves better.

This, by obvious design, self-serving letter, its accompanying Press Release announcement and it’s very crude plan smacks entirely of an announcement of convenience for both Mayor and Council and the developer. I have yet to see a Council publish a developer’s letter with the message that it contained. It states the following:

“Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish all members of Council and Mayor, up for re-election, the very best of luck. It would be great to see the personalities who have supported us be part of our future development and realize our vision together.”

There is no date on the letter and it’s introduction states:

“RE:      Letter of gratitude for continued support on our Aldergrove Project”

Isn’t that interesting, on the eve of the election we get an announcement on the development of the Mall with an accompanying letter patting each other on the back for a second rate development plan that just doesn’t cut it, it doesn’t even come close!

It is a property owner / developer endorsement of members of Council. One look at the plan and this letter speaks volumes on what is really going on behind the scenes. We are not a second rate community and we cannot accept a second rate development. A second rate development for THE prime development site in Aldergrove? Are you willing to sit back and accept what this Council is trying to sell? This election is your chance to make your voice heard.

After all this time this announcement, if you can call it that, is nothing more than a strip mall that is just not acceptable and as I said frankly is an insult to the intelligence of our residents. The layout, for what it is, identifies 5 buildings with an internal road system. The plan is very difficult to read but it is all surface parking showing 3 stories with residential above. It does not provide a street scape with retail unit access off of 272nd Street, one of the main streets of Aldergrove. What discussions have taken place with surrounding properties that are not owned by the Janda’s? There should be an incredible opportunity to tie other properties into this development. Have staff or Council approached those owners? There is just so much that is wrong with this development, once it is approved our opportunity will be lost.

In the Janda letter they state in the opening paragraph “Please accept this letter as our show of gratitude for the continued support of our project by members of staff, Council and our current Mayor.” “Since our ownership of almost a decade ago, we regret to inform that this has been our most challenging development to-date. Restrictions on build out due to existing tenancies, riparian area regulation changes, and our changing socio-economic market, has created an uphill Battle for us.”

Questions that must be asked –

  • In the opening sentence it is obvious that staff, Council and our current Mayor have been supportive of this plan all along which should be quite disturbing to all of us.
  • “We regret to inform that this has been our most challenging development to-date.” What does this mean, we regret to inform you? This is not our problem, there are many ways the Township can assist to see a first class development take place.
  • Restrictions on build out due to existing tenancies? What? The Janda’s own the property and they have tools in their tool box to deal with existing tenants. We cannot try to redevelop a key property such as this by building around an existing tenant, what is this about?
  • Riparian area regulation changes? Yes there have been more changes brought in for set-backs, in this case on Bertrand Creek, however the density that exists under the NEW Core Community Plan offers the developer many more opportunities by adding density value to this site. We have to use our imagination in what this site can become. When I met with the Jandas we talked about a number of those opportunities, and that was at the time we were in the process of developing the Core Community Plan. Sonny Janda was a member of the Aldergrove Core Community Planning Committee.
  • Our changing Socio Economic Market comment? We have just gone through one of the hottest expanding markets in decades and nothing has been done. The economy is still strong, look at the growth in every part of the lower mainland. If it can’t be done in this environment it won’t be done. If it doesn’t work for the Jandas they should sell this property to someone who will make it work, and there are many options out there. Nobody can force the Jandas to develop this site but we can be strong about what we want to see in our community. We are not obligated to approve what they want.

Look, developers are developers, they will get whatever they can squeeze out of a community. That doesn’t make them bad or awful people but they are business people wanting to maximize their return which is understandable, and you know what, it is the Municipal Council and staff that have to make the best deal for the taxpayer. Yes we have to be reasonable in our negotiations but we also have to have someone negotiating hard, you can’t negotiate from weakness or the wrong reason like an election campaign.  

In my last year in the Mayor’s office we were looking at an opportunity to create a development zone which would offer incentives for a developer to come in and undertake redevelopment. This is not new, any incentives offered in terms of taxes or fees will show significant return to a community and the Municipality over time. Dianne Watts did this in the Bridgeview area of Surrey and there are many others across the country.

I encourage all residents of the Aldergrove area to voice their displeasure with this action on the eve of this year’s Municipal Election, it is one step to far!!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to the Province, the Region and the Municipality, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

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Comments
  1. rickmanuel says:

    When is this council going to stop piece-mealing developement in the Wild West out here? Aldergrove could be a perfect spot for a Plan that incorporates a theme for example, the horse capital of BC (which I think it is?). Examples of a theme are Barkerville, Leavenworth, etc., where planning for the whole community attracts visitors, investment, etc.
    We’ve got the dubious distinction now of being in the most expenditures per community in BC over the past ten years and from my standpoint still don’t have sidewalks, water, sewer, a decent hospital or the big one; transportation. Where’s the outrage from the current council or candidates on LRT or Skytrain to Langley? Nothing….
    We’ve spent a million per pop on more full-time firemen that do (at last review) 1.9 calls per shift (great job if you can get it), got no parking in Willoughby, need a casino for some revenue, and don’t need another HARM reduction site to exchange needles or enable more disenfranchised to make Langley their home. Aldergrove has always been the poor cousin in Langley’s communities and this batch of candidates makes staying home on election day a good possibility. Gotta go take another blood pressure pill….

  2. mei lin yeoell says:

    Money rules. Even when it should not… which is most of the time!

    • I can’t disagree, I will only add you have two choices 1) capitulate or 2) continue to fight for what is right. To me there is no choice, I have to fight what is wrong. I could still be in the Mayors office IF I capitulated to the likes of Rich Coleman and a number of members of Council. That was never an option for me. I am proud of what I accomplished and the scars I still wear!!!!

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