This town needs more casinos

Let's build multiple casinos, a hotel and theatre and staff them all with Township employees.

Editor: I must say I was surprised to read Mayor Jack Froese’s statement, suggesting that the Gibbs Nursery site will be the location of a casino, hotel, theatre, restaurant and residential development, all to be done in several years. This sounds like an ambitious project in size and in timing, and I fully support it.

Langley has a shortage of gambling opportunities and this will partially fill that demand. Hopefully more casinos will be built in Aldergrove, Fort Langley, Brookswood etc.

I don’t think we will need one in Murrayville. People in Murrayville can just double up on 6/49 tickets, as well as lottery show home tickets. Heck, we get daily flyers in the mail promoting this stuff.

Since it sounds like the Township is going to run this new venture, they will be hiring a lot of people. That will be great for the economy, since many more people will have a government job along with all the perks and benefits that go with that. Langley will be a new utopia.

Froese’s statement says all this was decided in a couple of months. He’s got my vote. This sounds like a fast track. Start building. Hopefully it will all be finished before the next election.

Wally Martin,

Murrayville

Editor’s note — The Times had intended to link Mayor Jack Froese’s full statement to this letter for the information of residents, given that the letter writer refers to it. Unfortunately, while the statement was issued in the form of a press release, the statement cannot be found on the Township website. Here is the complete statement, as read by the mayor at the Sept. 17 Township council meeting.

I would like to speak to you about the recently announced expansion of the Langley Event Centre and the Aldergrove Recreation Centre. I wish to provide some clarification on statements that have been made, (and will be available after the meeting to answer any questions you may have).

First, I would like to say that this council has nearly completed its first year of our three year term. I am very proud of the accomplishments we have been able to achieve in such a short time. For the first time in recent memory this council adopted the 2012 budget with a unanimous vote. I have been privileged to work with a council that wants to put the past behind them and work to better the great community we live in.

We have approved the East Langley Water Project which will be funded through our water utility and not affect property taxes. Several major road network construction projects are underway in the Township, such as the Mufford overpass, the 192 overpass and rail/road network improvements and the 232 overpass construction which has just begun. These projects are a result of working together with other funding partners and will serve to improve our road networks and road safety.

The Langley Facilities Society, which is responsible for managing the Langley Events Centre, recently began construction of a 7.725 Million dollar expansion project to accommodate the large demand for additional sports and entertainment programs. This council has been discussing the appropriate use of the lands around the Langley Event Centre for several months. The Township recently acquired the Gibbs Nursery Site on the NW corner of the property, with an eye to include amenities such as a hotel, theatre, gaming centre, restaurant and or residential. This project will be developing over the next several years to truly compliment the LEC.

The first phase of the LEC expansion are two basketball courts and one lacrosse court to be housed in a permanent structure located immediately East of the LEC on Township owned property. After several “in closed” meetings, due to the confidentiality of the construction contracts, council voted at the July 23rd “in closed” council meeting to give authorization to the Langley Facilities Society with appropriate funding to deliver the first phase of development and to enter into a Design/Build Contract with Wales McLelland Construction and CTA Design Group for the construction of the first phase of development of the LEC. In discussions with council staff were requested on June 11, 2012 by council to seek out proposals for the first phase of development. Staff reported to council that Wales McLelland was the preferred proponent at the July 23, 2012 “in closed” meeting of council.

Funding for this project was approved by council to come from funding envelops that are available for council to use to take advantage of circumstances as they are presented. The funding envelop that is being referred to is our Land Capital Fund. The Land Capital Fund was approved in the 2012 budget in the amount of 15 Million dollars and was fully disclosed to the public and approved unanimously to council. The Township of Langley has used this fund in the past to facilitate construction of buildings or land acquisition and then complete a budget revision to include the project into a specified capital project fund. The LEC expansion is one such project that will be funded in this manner and be included in the 2013 budget.

The Langley Event Centre, had full authority from Council to proceed with the construction of the expansion project and deliver the project. Hence construction began in August to take advantage of the good weather to be complete sometime next spring to be ready for the late spring and summer events. As members of council, we were unable to release any of this information as we are bound by legislation regarding confidentiality of “in closed” meetings; LEC responded to media inquiries about the construction. In hind sight, as chair of the meeting, I should have asked for a “motion to release” as soon as the contracts were signed and complete.

The Aldergrove Recreation Centre.

It’s important to note that this council is committed to delivering a recreation centre to the people of the Township of Langley to be located in Aldergrove. The LEC expansion and the Aldergrove Recreation Centre are both moving ahead concurrently as two separate projects. Funding for these projects will come from reserves and a multi-year plan of disposing of land assets that are surplus to the Township needs. The taxpayers will not be shouldering the capital cost of these projects. The LEC expansion will not impact taxpayers, as operational costs will be absorbed by the existing staff and increased revenue. However, there will be a cost to taxpayers to cover some of the operational cost of the Aldergrove Recreation Centre, which will be built into subsequent budgets.

Last July, I began the process of striking a Mayor’s standing committee to involve the community in the first public consultation phase of the Aldergrove Recreation Centre. I have asked Councillors Long, Fox, Dornan and Ferguson to sit on the committee. Cllr Long will chair the committee and report back to council. The committees first course of business will be to select 4 members of the public for me to appoint to the committee. The committees mandate is to work with our Parks and Rec staff to reach out to the public for input on the initial design. This committee is to commence work immediately with an end date of January 31, 2013. After that time a new subcommittee of the Parks, Rec and Culture Advisory Board will be struck to act as a steering committee.

I hope I have clarified some of the facts regarding these two projects. I would be happy to answer questions after the meeting.”

Sincerely,  Jack Froese, mayor