At least two boarded-up buildings in Fort Langley owned by builder Eric Woodward will not be re-opening to the public anytime soon.
Woodward recently received a letter from public health inspector Bob Boyd of Fraser Health, calling the locations of two former businesses on Glover Road “filthy, unsightly and predominately dilapidated.”
“In other words, the buildings are uninhabitable or beyond retrieval,” Boyd wrote.
“Consequently, there are two critical concerns with these old, empty buildings in the centre of this commercial and residential area. The infestation of rats and other vermin and secondly, and not less important, is the potential for fire and the spread of fire to the adjoining and adjacent buildings.
“Demolition is the logical solution.”
The buildings — which were originally constructed in the 1950s — have been boarded up since the fall, when Woodward reached an impasse with the Township of Langley on development he had planned for the village.
He had looked at renovating the locations last year when one of the tenants informed him they were seeking a new location, but determined it wasn’t economically viable. Fraser Health did not do an inspection at that time.
“It was more about the tenants’ point of view. If I’m going to try to re-rent this to somebody, they’re going to want a long term lease, they’re not going to invest any money for a month-to-month tenancy,” Woodward told the Times.
“And, I concluded that the amount of money that I’d have to put into it, the amount of money that they’d have to put into it, and then corresponding the amount of time or the length of the lease that they would want, determined there was no real reason to do that economically. It doesn’t make sense. For all I know, the Township’s going to change its mind tomorrow and say that I’m good to go ahead, and now I’ve got a five-year lease. I made the conclusion not to do that.”
Woodward decided to take a second look at the buildings about a month ago, after receiving criticism online for boarding them up.
“When the buildings started getting some plywood on them, people were suddenly pretending this was a surprise,” Woodward said.
“Two camps would either say, ‘Well, this is just a reaction or some sort of game that I am playing,’ and then of course other people — who we respect a bit more — would come to me and say, ‘Is it really this bad? Is there nothing you can do about this?’ So, I did have another look at it again.
“And he (the inspector) came through, had a look at them, and we just determined what we had determined before, that there’s no economic base to proceed. And he pointed out a couple of things he didn’t like in regards to the significant rat issues, and how easy it is for them to move in and out of these buildings. There’s really no way to prevent that, unlike a newer building which doesn’t have any rats at all because it’s much more difficult for them to move around.”
As a result, Woodward said the two buildings will remain boarded up.