Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Timms Community Centre and investing in Downtown Langley

In my post yesterday, I mentioned that investing in the public realm is one way to effect positive change in a community. When the City of Surrey decided to move its City Hall from the geographic centre of the city (which was actually the middle of nowhere) to Whalley, it sent a signal that Surrey was serious about investing in Whalley's future. The City's actions showed that it wanted to positively change that community.

The City of Surrey didn’t build a City Hall that was inward focused with no public spaces. The design of the facility contributed to making a better community by design. The civic plaza, welcoming entrances, child care facility, plus a cafĂ©, all contributed to creating an attractive public realm.

On a smaller scale, the City of Langley also invested in the future of Downtown Langley when it rebuilt City Hall at the corner of 204th Street and Douglas Crescent around a decade ago. The City of Langley is also investing in the future of Downtown Langley by spending $14.3 million on a new Timms Community Centre.

Construction is coming along nicely on this project. On the weekend, I snapped of a few picture of the progress.

Timms Community Centre under construction. Select image to enlarge.

Timms Community Centre, looking from Douglas Crescent. Select image to enlarge.

This project will create a strong street front along Douglas Crescent; the community centre will enhance the neighbourhood.

One of the challenges of this redevelopment is that surface parking abuts 56 Avenue and Fraser Highway, creating a dead space along the main street of Downtown Langley. In order for the new TImms Community Centre to fully contribute to creating a better public realm in Downtown Langley, the City will need to exam its short to medium-term plans for the surface parking lot.

Whether a public plaza, park, or new street-oriented, pedestrian-friendly mixed-use building, something needs to be done to fully integrate the $14.3 million Timms with Fraser Highway. This investment will send the same kind of message that Surrey did when it built its new City Hall and civic plaza in Whalley.

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