Editorial: Stage is set for new arts and culture centre in Langley

The ceremonial groundbreaking is in the books, but it’s probably a bit early yet to start getting too excited about the new Aldergrove recreation centre.

It will be nearly three years until we can start blasting down water slides or floating gently along the lazy river at the new aquatic facility.

But trust us, when the time comes, you’ll find us near the front of the line.

Closer to completion is the new Timms Community Centre next to City Hall, with its gymnasium and walking/running track, weight rooms and a range of community amenities scheduled to open in the spring.

Add to that the Langley Events Centre in Willoughby, Walnut Grove’s top-notch recreation facility, WC Blair pool in Murrayville and the George Preston Centre, serving Brookswood residents, and we think it’s fair to say Langley’s recreational needs are looked after.

Now, perhaps, is the time to turn our attention to another segment of the population that has not been as well served by getting serious about a cultural and performing arts centre for the Langleys.

We’re not talking about another arena-style concert bowl, but an honest-to-goodness theatre, with proper seating, decent acoustics and a proscenium-style stage.

Tens of thousands of dollars have already been spent on a consultant’s study, which described to both councils and the other user groups that participated, Langley’s ideal theatre.

It called for a building that could accommodate an audience of 600 among other features.

That was more than two years ago. Since then, aside from a few quiet rumblings here and there, we’ve heard nothing, leadin us to fear it is just one more study destined to gather dust in a drawer.

True, our neighbouring communities boast theatre facilities that Langley residents are both welcome and encouraged to patronize.

However, some of the most popular concerts and productions take place through the fall and winter months — a less than inviting time to be on the road for a lot of drivers who prefer not to travel long distances after dark.

With a price tag in the tens of millions, it won’t be inexpensive. But neither are ice rinks and water parks.

Isn’t an investment in a population’s cultural well being as valuable as one directed toward its physical health?

We think so.

The stage is set. Now it’s time for some action.

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