Langley Township boosted the funding envelope for a major expansion of the Langley Events Centre from $100 million to $149 million at this week’s meeting.
The new ice rink and dry arenas facility was part of the expansion of recreation facilities promised by Mayor Eric Woodward and his Contract with Langley slate when they ran in last year’s elections, and the project has been moving forward through early planning phases since shortly after the council took office.
Monday’s report from staff firmed up some design features of the three-ice rink, two-dry arena project, which is to be built east of the main LEC building and just north of the fieldhouse.
The additional $49 million for the funding envelope will go towards building underground parking for the proposed new facility ($25 million) and by stacking two of the dry arenas above two of the ice rinks, rather than building them all on one level ($15 million).
The underground parking and the stacking will make the facility more compact. Surface parking would have used up about three acres, and stacking the dry arenas will save another two
In addition, other funding is proposed for upgrading the facility from a bare-bones version, including possibilities such as a green roof, better amenities for the sports user groups, and increased storage and office space.
Most of the council, including two of the three independent councillors, were in favour of the increase in the funding envelope.
“I can’t see us in this 21st century that we would have surface parking at a facility like this, we need the underground parking,” said Councillor Margaret Kunst.
About 4,000 local users are expected to make use of the facilities after they are completed.
Coun. Steve Ferguson pointed out how many people are likely to use the facility – for every person playing soccer or hockey, there is a whole family involved and affected, as well as people who come from other communities.
The project cost was the subject of criticism by Coun. Kim Richter as the council went through the proposed spending item-by-item, and she was the only member of council to vote against the project.
“A hundred million dollars is singularly the largest expense that I think any council has ever spent on a recreational centre, and now you want to up that budget by another 50 per cent.”
“Do we really need five rinks right now?” she added.
Jason Winslade, the Township’s manager of municipal administration, noted that there had been “rapid escalation” in costs for some projects over the last few years, with the cost of a facility doubling since 2020.
“Any projects that are planned or underway more recently are seeing some challenges,” Winslade said.
He said staff have done about a year’s worth of work in the last three months to get the project to this point. There is some cost risk until the contracts have been signed with builders, Winslade noted.
He said that having three ice sheets allows for efficiencies, including in the ice plants and Zamboni use.
In addition, there have been an expansion of ice rink use from seasonal in the past, but they are now year round.
“That’s put a lot of pressure on the facilities that we do have,” said Winslade.
He said based on existing numbers, the Township believes the need is there. There’s a lack of ice time and rink time in the Township.
The project concepts to be unveiled at a public event Tuesday, Oct. 10 at the Langley Events Centre FieldHouse.
The Township anticipates ultimately funding most of the costs of the new facility, over the long term, from Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) which are contributions given by developers for projects such as rec centres and libraries.
The council sharply increased CACs near the start of its term and is collecting considerably more money than it was in the past.