Fort IGA rebuilding gets green light

Langley Township council has approved a heritage alteration permit, meaning that all barriers to rebuilding the IGA store in Fort Langley have been removed.

Shirley Rempel, who owns Country Lane Antiques in Fort Langley, told Township council on Monday what many other merchants and residents already know: that since fire destroyed the IGA grocery store in January, the village has suffered.

“I had no idea what an anchor to business and the community the IGA was until we lost it,” Rempel said at a heritage alteration permit hearing.

“Please, tonight, get it done.”

Council approved the permit, meaning that all barriers to rebuilding the store on the site between Glover Road and Church Street and Mavis Avenue have been removed.

Although none of the speakers opposed the proposal for a new IGA store and two other retail/office buildings, some expressed concern about the blank wall facing Church Street. Speaking on behalf of a friend who lives on Church Street, Elizabeth Campbell-Ryder wondered if the building could be sited differently.

Architect Bruce Rositch noted that the vast majority of people who studied the design like it, just the way it is.

“But they are not all living across the street,” commented Councillor Kim Richter.

The new grocery store is planned for the corner of Church Street and Mavis Avenue. The 11,400 square foot building will be almost 30 feet tall. The parking lot is to the south.

The two two-storey commercial buildings are approximately 28 feet tall. Shops are planned for the ground floor, with offices above. The two buildings will be connected by an open, second story balcony above a breezeway.

While she, too, had concerns about the IGA wall facing Church Street, Fort Langley Community Association vice-president Connie Blundy called the design “a really excellent use of space.”

Another resident, Misty Van Popta hoped the complex will provide bicycle stands.

“Fort Langley is a mecca for men in Spandex,” she said.

“A good suggestion,” said Mayor Rick Green.

However, no one on council would support Councillor Kim Richter’s motion for bike racks and increased landscaping.

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