Opportunity Knocked

Langley Times - August 19, 2008

On Tuesday, while the first huge wooden truss was being put into place over the arena floor of the Langley Events Centre, council members commented on what they see as the significance of the new facility.

"One of the things I keep harping on is building a community through partnerships," said Mayor Kurt Alberts. The provincial government and Langley Development Group (which includes principles of the Langley Chiefs hockey association) each contributed $15 million, while the Township put in $16.5 million.

But significant contributions from Trinity Western University ($3.5 million), Langley School District ($3 million) and the Langley Gymnastics Foundation ($1 million) which allowed the expansion of gymnasiums and other facilities to enable the Township to host many more larger events.

Councillor Jordan Bateman said the plethora of partners, and a keen interest from many groups, (Township staff are fielding calls for bookings months before the centre is slated to open in March) will enable the facility to be in use virtually every day of the year. Councillor Howie Vickberg said the $15 million from Victoria came out of the blue, but council had to be ready to take advantage of the offer when opportunity knocked.

Steve Ferguson, remembers when it "was a big deal to open a field house back in the day of (the late mayor) John Beales, but we were assembling a lot of land for facilities like this... This (the events centre) turns a whole new page, to the new Langley, the next generation," said Ferguson.

The new facility will be a centrepiece for athletes of all ages in Langley, but its use will not be restricted to sports. It will host events ranging from concerts, exhibitions and trade shows, to conventions and weddings will all be able to use the building. And there will be a community fitness centre and meeting rooms, a restaurant, and retail and office space.

Building a community takes a bit of decisiveness, and the current Langley Township council can be congratulated for being ready when opportunity knocked.

© The Langley Times