Aldergrove’s Greater Vancouver Zoo is planning to revamp their look with new entry buildings and a larger parking lot.
The game farm, which has been in operation at 5048 264 St. since 1968, is applying to the Agricultural Land Commission to receive non-farm use status for a portion of their 119 acre property to accommodate the changes.
The proposal was forwarded to the ALC by Township council in a unanimous vote Oct. 23.
Should the zoo’s application be approved, they will construct a new 2,960 square foot entry building with a 1,023 square foot gift shop, washrooms and a 323 square foot administrative space, along with additional parking and roundabout.
Currently, the entryway has a 1,023 square foot entry building and a narrow internal road that gives access to the parking lots from 264 Street. They plan to widen the south parking lot and this small road to create a bus loop and about 103 new parking spaces. An existing barn and shed will also be removed to make way for a future admin building.
This project is replacing a previous proposal that was approved in 2015 to build a new educational discovery centre.
Major Jack Froese said he is “quite pleased” with the plans.
“This group is looking at making some very significant changes over a long period of time, and this is just the beginning,” he said. “And I think it’s a great asset to our community, and certainly to the region. It’s nice to see that some improvements are contemplated and will be coming to this facility.”
The zoo opened before the Agricultural Land Reserve was established in 1972 and before the Township zoned the area in 1973. The property was grandfathered in as a legal non-conforming use, and in 1992 was rezoned to rural game farm zone RU-12.
It is the largest of its kind in B.C. and houses more than 140 wild and exotic animals including a tiger, cheetah, giraffe, hippos, and ‘Shadow’ the grizzly bear. It also contributes to conservation efforts on various fronts including work to build back the population of the spotted frog and the Western painted turtle.
The zoo has faced controversy in the past with the untimely death of some giraffes and the treatment of one of its hippos. An outdoor enclosure was built for that hippo, including a large pond after the criticism. There are protests by animal rights activists from time to time.