Some day in the far future, the new IGA building in Fort Langley will eventually be demolished.
And when that day finally comes, the developers at that time will find a little present left behind by the residents of today.
A time capsule containing a copy of the Fort Langley Villager Magazine, printouts and newspaper clips documenting the IGA’s history, a badge from the fire department, a business card from Mayor Jack Froese and many other items were all placed in a green metal box and buried in the earth beneath the entrance of the new IGA building on June 16.
Concrete for the floor was poured two days later, securely locking the time capsule away for possibly 100 years or more.
The idea came from owner Robert Lee, who woke up in the middle of the night early last week with a sudden thought that a time capsule should be burred before the concrete is poured. One day it will serve as a reminder to residents in the future about the great community that Fort Langley is today.
“I think it’s a real sign of how much the community misses their grocery store, in particular the Lee family who have run that store since 1975,” said Kurt Alberts, long time Fort Langley resident and organizer of the event. “There’s a lot of eager anticipation hoping the store is up and running soon.”
Dozens of residents and local business owners braved the pouring rain to attend the time capsule burial ceremony and sign their names and well wishes on papers that were also placed inside the capsule.
“It was amazing, there were people rushing around at the last minute to leave their mark, their signature, and make a comment,” Alberts said, adding that is was also interesting to see comments from young people, who wrote about their iPhones and high tech devices that will be archaic 100 years from now.
A plaque will be placed on top of the burial site inside the store once it is finished.
One year after he volunteered to restore the fire-damaged Fort Langley IGA sign, custom car builder Mark Unrau has finished the job.
The result of his labour was undergoing some minor last-minute touch-ups at Unrau’s Vintage Coach Works shop on Landmark Way on Tuesday, Jan. 10, the day before he planned to give the 50-year-old red-and-white sign back to the Lee family who owns the IGA store.
He put it together using parts from the original sign and two others of identical vintage.
“I found [this side] face down in their parking lot,” he said, running a hand over the raised IGA logo. “Been there who knows how long.”
For the benefit of a Times camera, Unrau showed how he rendered a crack in one of the translucent plastic ovals virtually invisible using a dental pick, razor and modeling glue to repair it.
His fingers made a squeaking sound as he rubbed the now completely smooth surface.
The once-yellowed IGA letters are now a proper bright white. The metal parts have been sandblasted smooth and powder coated grey.
Unrau doesn’t think the colour is an exact match to the grey he found under the brown paint someone had slapped over the metal trim, but the sign is otherwise exactly as it was when it was first manufactured, with all-authentic 1960s parts and wiring.
“It took many hours, but to look at it now, it was worth every minute,” Unrau said.
“Can’t wait to see the IGA oval light up on the new store.”
Unrau, a loyal customer of the store owned and operated by the Lee family on the corner of Mavis Avenue and Glover Road, offered to restore the sign after the IGA grocery store burned to the ground Jan. 4 of last year.
Unrau said the unpaid project got a boost from other local businesses. Balkan Signs owner Todd Detchev donated parts and time, as well as Rick from Guillevin International Co. for parts and wire, along with U-Blast who sandblasted the metal and Hi-Pro who handled the powder-coating.
Work on building the new IGA in Fort Langley began in November. It is expected to be completed this fall.
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Published: November 21, 2011 4:00 PM
Members of the Lee family and Marco Paolella of Marcon Development made the first indentations in the soil at the IGA property in Fort Langley on Friday, to commemorate the beginning of the store’s rebuilding project.
The IGA grocery store, which had been owned and operated by the Lee family on the corner of Mavis Avenue and Glover Road since 1975, burned to the ground in early January. The long-awaited excavation for a new building begins this week.
“It’s been a long time waiting. We’re excited to be moving this forward and starting the construction,” said Russ Wallbank of Marcon Development.
Robert Lee says he was surprised by the number of community supporters and members of the Township government that gathered on the vacant lot to support the Lee family for the “groundbreaking” event.
“We have had unbelievable community support right from the start,” he said. “We are very thankful for their help.”
Lee says he gives credit to past Township mayor Kurt Alberts, a Fort Langley resident, for being “instrumental” in his support and promotion of the project.
“The IGA was a big part of the Fort Langley Village,” Alberts said. “It’s a special place and there’s been a hole in the community since it burned down.”
Plans for the new IGA include additional office space and a new plaza to be built on the site. Construction is expected to be completed by summer or fall of 2012.
See story in the Langley Times.