Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland made a campaign stop in Langley Friday to pledge Liberal support for a new public performance centre in the Township.
Freeland said if the Liberals are re-elected in Monday’s election, they will work with the Township on a proposed $65 million performance space.
“Our government would work with the Township of Langley to build a green, publicly accessible, community performance centre.”
The money could come from a $1.5 billion fund set up to help fund the building and renovation of new, green community infrastructure projects, Freeland said.
She was flanked at the announcement by the two local Liberal candidates, John Aldag, running in Cloverdale-Langley City, and Kim Richter, running in Langley-Aldergrove.
Richter recalled that this issue has been a long-term one in the Township.
“This new facility will help fulfil the vision outlined in the Township sustainability charter, to leave a legacy for future generations,” Richter said.
Richter, a longtime Township councillor, noted that the issue of a cultural centre or live performance space was a major one in the 1990s – it was being hotly debated when she first ran for Township council in 1999.
“It will be a regional economic driver,” Richter said.
The pledge is not a guarantee of funding, but Freeland said it is a commitment to working with local officials to get the project approved.
“This is a project that we are very keen to work with you on,” Freeland said.
Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek and Township Mayor Jack Froese, along with councillors from both municipalities, were present at the announcement.
The Township has been planning an arts and recreation district for the lands around the LEC for some time, and this would be a major component of that.
The performance space is planned to have 1,600 seats, to accommodate local music and arts events, high school graduations, large weddings, and medal ceremonies for sports events at the nearby LEC and other sports facilities.
Froese noted there are many fine sporting facilities, but there is a lack of areas right for cultural and arts events.
“The community’s been wanting this for years and decades,” Froese said.
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