The City of Langley is pulling out of a 25-year-long agreement with the Township to help fund McLeod Athletic Park.
City Mayor Ted Schaffer sent a letter to Langley Township mayor Jack Froese giving notice the City will reduce its contribution to the Township athletic park at 56 Avenue and 216 Street from $100,000 to $50,000 this year, then eliminate it altogether next year.
Schaffer said City Council will use the money to upgrade parks and sports fields within the City.
“This decision was made after much contemplation by City Council over the past several years and City Council feels that now is the time to move forward in that direction,” Schaffer added.
A copy of the Feb. 23 letter was circulated to Township councillors for their Monday, March 6, meeting.
“As part of the 2017 Capital Improvement Plan deliberations, City Council has determined that there are a number of park deficiencies in the City of Langley jurisdiction that we would like to address,” Schaffer wrote.
“The City has allocated more than $3.28 million for park and sports field upgrades in the Capital Improvement Plan for the next five years, which will benefit sports field users from both the City of Langley and our neighbouring communities.”
Among the planned City upgrades, the Rotary Centennial Park at 208 Street near the Fraser Highway is budgeted to undergo a $700,000 upgrade, Schaffer said (in 2015, a crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) review of the park called for a redesign to fight problems of loitering, overnight camping, drinking, drug use and vandalism).
City records show the smaller municipality has contributed more than $3 million to McLeod Athletic Park in the Township since 1992, money that went to cover a portion of the operating costs and building new facilities at the 60-acre site.
From 1992 until 1995, the City only contributed to the capital costs of building facilities, when the agreement was amended to include operating expenses as well.
The City contribution to McLeod varied from year to year depending on the amount of building that was going on, reaching a high of $418,000 in capital costs and $46,000 in operating costs in 2005.
In 2007, the agreement was changed again, and the City contribution was set at a flat $100,000 a year.
McLeod has a stadium that can hold 2,200 spectators with an artificial turf field, night lighting and an arena-sized video display screen.
The facility has an eight-lane rubberized track, and can accommodate javelin, high jump, long jump, discus, shot put and pole vault events.
It also has one baseball diamond, four regulation softball diamonds, three non-regulation softball diamonds, six natural-turf soccer fields, four tennis courts and a lacrosse box.