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$17.7 million upgrade to Aldergrove border crossing
The federal government will invest $17.7 million in a complete overhaul of the buildings and road access to the Aldergrove port of entry.
The announcement was made Monday (April 14) at the Aldergrove-Lynden border by Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney and Langley MP Mark Warawa.
Warawa said the decision was the result of "seven to eight years of work to make the Aldergrove crossing, a strategic location, work to its full potential." Warawa credited the support of partners such as local governments and chambers of commerce on both sides of the border, as well as the B.C. Trucking Association, in making this project a federal priority.
Blaney said the existing and aging Canadian Border Services Agency infrastructure at Aldergrove "would be gone in 18 months," replaced by new structures that would serve "two new commercial lanes and five travel lanes, with the potential for up to eight in the future."
The project also includes a Nexus lane and a new commercial examination warehouse, all scheduled to open by 2016.
Blaney also announced a new, third Nexus lane at the Pacific Highway border crossing, open 7 a.m.-12 midnight, seven days a week.
The Aldergrove border crossing project entails a major re-design of the local roads by the provincial Highways Ministry. Highway 13 would be four lanes and access from Zero Avenue would be eliminated.
The latter plan is an issue for south Aldergrove farmers, as Zero Avenue currently provides farm machinery access to working farms on both sides of the highway.
Lance and Diane Conway own 90 acres of berry farms next to the highway, with 50 acres on the west side of the highway and another 40 acres on the other side.
The highways ministry intends to purchase a right-of-way through Conway's acreage to create a new road access to the farms on the west side, but those plans would also cut off access for farms on the east side.
"I'm not talking to them about this right-of-way until we resolve the access issue for the farmers here, and it's not just me, there are other farmers who have the same problem with the proposed plans," said Lance. "I am meeting with highways again on Wednesday and we are hoping for a resolution."
Aldergrove border upgrade praised
The decision was praised by representatives of the B.C. Trucking Association and Chamber of Commerce.
“As trucking has grown and expanded into the Fraser Valley, so too has demand for Aldergrove to become a full commercial port. Not only is it a relief valve when other nearby ports become congested, it will play an increasingly important role as development continues eastward. We are extremely pleased that the Government of Canada has listened and responded to our industry’s calls for facilities and services that will improve the efficiency of trans-border trucking and support growth in US-Canada trade," said Louise Yako, President and CEO, BC Trucking Association.
Kristine Simpson, President, Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, said, “The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is very pleased to participate in this very significant announcement concerning the re-development of the Aldergrove Port of Entry. The Aldergrove-Lynden crossing is the second busiest U.S.-Canada commercial crossing in British Columbia. The importance of this crossing will continue to increase as we see the expected growth in population, economic activity in the region and expansion of trade at Port Metro Vancouver. Since 2007 our Chamber, in partnership with our Member of Parliament Mark Warawa, our City and Township of Langley Councils, the BC Trucking Association, the BC Chamber of Commerce, and our counterparts in the City of Surrey, Abbotsford and Washington State, has been communicating the need for redevelopment and increased service capacity at the Aldergrove Port of Entry. We applaud the Minister of Public Safety for recognizing the need for improved infrastructure to facilitate economic growth, improved movement of goods and services, and increased international trade today and into the future.”
Aldergrove farmer Lance Conway points out concerns about the proposed re-design of Hwy. 13 (264 Street) that would cut off access to south Aldergrove farms. -KURT LANGMANN PHOTO