Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Timms Community Centre replacement project lacks transparency

The Timms Community Centre is one of the largest infrastructure projects that the City of Langley has undertaken in recent memory. Talk about replacing the community centre has continued since I can remember. The City of Langley started putting aside funding for the replacement of the centre since at least 2010.

The former Timms Community Centre was located next to the current City Hall, but was demolished in December 2011 to make way for its replacement. Timms Community Centre was temporarily relocated to Eastleigh Crescent. It is now June 2014, and the new Timms Community Centre remains allusive. In the meantime, the cost for the project has slowly crept up.

In 2012, $2.4 million was added to the project to build more parking spots. Currently, the total budget for the Timms Community Centre replacement is $14.3 million. In the latest council agenda, it was revealed that the City has spent $111,672 from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013 on consulting fees for the project.

While $111,672 isn’t a large sum of money in the overall project, there has been little to no community consultation about the Timms Community Centre replacement project.

From what little is known, the original plan was to build a conventional community centre. Later on, the plan shifted to building a “community hub.” Besides the traditional components of a community centre, the idea was to include other community services in the facility. For example, Fraser Health’s Public Health Unit and other service organization could lease space and help build the centre. This would have increased the size and scope of the project. I think this would have been a great idea, but these plans fell through. Timms is once again back to being a conventional community centre.

One of my main concerns about the Timms Community Centre replacement project is that there has been little public involvement. Unlike the Aldergrove Community Centre which had public involvement from day one, not even a concept drawing of the proposed new Timms Community Centre is publicly available. As one of the largest projects undertaken by the City of Langley, more information about its replacement should be made public. Right now there is a lack of transparency about what is happening with Timms.

As Timms is a community centre, shouldn’t the City be getting feedback from the community on what our vision is for the centre?

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