Aldergrove heritage buffs are working to stop Township plans to demolish the former Aldergrove Fire Hall.
The cinder-block building, which has been standing at the corner of 29th Ave. and 272nd St. since 1959, was recently purchased by the Township of Langley as part of the re-development of the former Aldergrove Community Arena site into a seniors’ housing complex by the Burnaby-based Willingdon Care Centre.
The former fire hall was purchased from the Township in 2004 after the new fire hall was built near 264th St. and re-developed as the Milsean confectionary and tea house by the Robinson family. Maureen and Rob Robinson recently retired, closed their business and sold the property back to the Township.
The Township has not disclosed their plans for the property as the matter is still in-camera, however, a Township memo has suggested that the former fire hall building would be leveled to make way for an extension of 29th Ave. to 273rd St., where the Lion’s Grove Estates seniors’ complex is located.
About two dozen people, including four Township councillors, attended a public meeting Thursday hosted by the Alder Grove Heritage Society (AGHS), which is seeking to overturn the proposed demolition of the former fire hall.
Key speaker Tami Quiring said that the AGHS is “hoping that the 29th Ave. extension is not needed” and that alternative traffic plans could be made so the building could be retained as a community heritage resource.
She noted that the building has been upgraded seismically and is in good condition for “rehabilitation as a space for community archives to preserve historically significant documents.”
She said that the current AGHS facility, the Telephone Museum, has a considerable collection of archival documents but no space to display them or share them with the public. The old fire hall building would provide a much larger space that would also be less susceptible to fire as it is a concrete building, and could also serve as a community meeting space as well as affordable rentals for workshops and seminars.
At a suggestion from the audience, Quiring replied that there would be possibility of operating a coffee shop and gift shop in conjunction with the archives.
AGHS vice president Brit Gardner asked “…why this treasured piece of local history needs to be destroyed. The onus is on the Township to host an open house to explain why this road option is needed.”
The four Township councillors present — Petrina Arnason, Steve Ferguson, Kim Richter and Eric Woodward — were unable to provide answers to these questions as the matter is in-camera in order to protect the Township from property speculation.
Quiring said that the AGHS members will be sending a delegation to Township council’s public meeting on January 21, to request consultation with the Township before a final decision is made on the property.
“We hope to open a dialogue with the Township, to answer our questions,” said Quiring.
The AGHS is also circulating a petition, asking that the old fire hall be preserved. It is available on-line at https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-the-firehall.html