The Summit Theatre at Langley’s Cascades Casino will be closing to make way for a bingo hall.
“The New Year’s Eve celebrations will be the last event in the theatre,” said Tanya Gabara, spokesperson for Gateway Casinos.
Gateway Casinos already owned the Playtime Gaming bingo facility nearby in Langley Township, and bingo operations are expected to be move from that facility to Cascades, she explained. The old Playtime facility will shut down after the move.
The shuttering of the 400-seat Summit Theatre will eliminate one of the few performing arts spaces in the Langleys.
“It’s a shame that there’s an entire factor being lost there,” said Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer.
He noted that City approval was not required for the change to the Cascades.
The local business community is also disappointed by the move.
“Of course we’re disappointed,” said Teri James, executive director of the Downtown Langley Business Association, which promotes local businesses and tourism to the City.
From a business perspective, the casino is making the business decision that’s right for them, James said.
But it means a loss of a performing arts theatre in the downtown core.
“It’s a loss to the community, for sure,” James said.
Rob Warwick of Rock.It Boy Entertainment has booked hundreds of acts, including a large number of tribute bands and singers, into Cascades through the years. He said he will still be doing some shows in the ballroom, and at other Gateway properties, but he’ll also be doing more shows at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley.
In 2016, Gateway Casinos announced a major renovation that would include 23,000 square feet being added to the Cascades, including 3,000 square feet to the casino floor.
Gabara said there will still be opportunities for live performances at the casino, including in the ballroom and at the Match restaurant, which has live entertainment or DJing on Friday and Saturday nights already.
Langley’s remaining major performing arts spaces include:
• The Chief Sepass Theatre at the Langley Fine Arts School, in Fort Langley
• Rose Gellert Hall at the Langley Community Music School in Langley City
• The auditorium at the Langley campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, in Langley City
• Freedom Hall theatre at Trinity Western University
There are also a number of community halls and the Langley Players drama club, which can generally hold less than 100 people.