Events Centre proves its worth

The value of Langley Events Centre to the community was demonstrated forcefully over the weekend, as Trinity Western University hosted the Canadian Interuniversity Sports mens volleyball national championships.

The TWU Spartans went all the way to the finals and won the gold medal on Sunday night, in an exciting match that is covered in far more detail on The Times’ sports pages. They did so in front of a nearly sold-out crowd of more than 2,000 people. It was, quite possibly, one of the most exciting sports events played at the Events Centre in its first two years, although the Olympics torch run event in the Events Centre parking lot last February attracted more people.

What value did the Events Centre demonstrate over the weekend?

First, that it is an excellent venue for top-notch sporting events like a national championship. The facilities are superb, with attributes for volleyball including a high ceiling, good lighting and the capacity to make significant room for spectators.

Many of the competitors, coaches and supporters who travelled to Langley for the event will be singing the praises of the Events Centre, on returning to their own communities.

There are very few gymnasiums on Canadian university campuses that are as good for volleyball as the Events Centre, and many do not have the ability to quickly put up thousands of spectator seats.

Second, parking at the Events Centre is both ample and free. This is a consideration that is not insignificant. Most sporting events have an add-on cost for parking, ranging from as much as $40 to about $5. This does keep some fans from going to games. In the case of the Events Centre, transit service to the facility, especially at night, is minimal. To charge for parking would be to defeat the purpose of having it well-utilized by the community.

Third, an event such as a national championship brings many thousands of dollars into the community. This is obvious, but it is also significant. There were seven visiting teams at the chapionships, from all across Canada. Each had a minimum of 20 to 25 players and coaches, and likely a minimum of several dozen parents and fans. Some had much bigger contingents — notably the two teams from Alberta, as Langley is within easy driving distance of Calgary and Edmonton.

All these visitors spend a lot of money in this community over the course of a three-day event. The exact same thing happened when Langley Township hosted the B.C. Summer Games in July.

Hotels, restaurants and retail outlets (in both the Township and City) benefited greatly from this influx of visitors, and it is quite likely that many of them will be back again.

The investment that Langley Township made in the Events Centre, the subject of controversy for a short time last year, continues to pay off every time there is an event of this scale there.

In less than two weeks, the B.C. High School boys AAA basketball championships will also be held at the Events Centre,with the main games in the hockey arena. Once again, the event will pay dividends to Langley in many ways.

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