'It looks gross': Aldergrove mall eyesore could soon be torn down
Coun. Bob Long says plan is in the works to redevelop site — but candidate questions timing of announcement
A Langley Township councillor says the old, boarded-up mall in the heart of downtown Aldergrove that residents and local businesses have complained about for years could soon have a date with a wrecking ball.
Bob Long posted a draft for a redevelopment plan on his Facebook page this week.
"The lack of activity at the mall site has been a concern for many citizens," he said.
"We anticipate [the final proposal] will be ready by late October or early November."
Long says the municipality has been working with the Janda Group on a proposal for five new buildings near the intersection of 32 Avenue and 272 Street.
Most of the buildings will have commercial space on the ground floor with residential units on top.
'This could be a huge opportunity'
Business owners in the area say Aldergrove Mall, which was built in 1976, is an eyesore that won't be missed.
"It looks gross," said Oliver Crane, who owns a skateboard shop near the site.
"It would obviously be good to have more businesses in here and more people coming through."
Dean Malik, who owns a travel agency in downtown Aldergrove, says he'd love to see new homes and businesses in the area.
"It was a huge negative for the community but I think this could be a huge opportunity," he said.
Question of timing
Township council candidate Eric Woodward says it's a little strange the proposal was revealed just days after he advertised a campaign event on his Facebook page.
Woodward, a Fort Langley developer, gave a talk in Aldergrove on Tuesday evening where he outlined his plan to revitalize the downtown core.
To promote the event, he posted a picture on Facebook that showed him standing in front of the empty mall.
"I'm not sure why something like this is coming out a few days before my event and two weeks before an election," Woodward said.
"It seems a bit suspicious to me, but I'll let the voters draw their own conclusions."
He also believes the new project design is a bad fit for the area.
"My initial reaction was some disappointment," Woodward said.
"It looked to be a lot of low-rise buildings with surface-level parking lots, which is not something that we should be building in 2018," he said.
Long says he has been working with the developer behind the scenes for a long time now and he released the drawing because the public has the right to know.
"I've been criticized that it's become an election issue but I think it's important for people to realize that council and staff have been working very hard to get this project going," he said.
"It's just the timing is what it is."