Langley’s largest ongoing park construction project could see some changes as council considers altering the phases of development.
Yorkson Community Park stretches half a mile from 84th Avenue down to 80th Avenue, and from Yorkson Creek in the west to the condos and townhouses fronting 208th Street in the east.
It already contains several ball diamonds, a mountain bike park, soccer fields, a dog park, and a new indoor tennis centre.
Several more playing fields, the Township’s largest skateboard park, a spray park, picnic area, field house, and paved parking lots with EV chargers are still to come.
In May, Councillor Eric Woodward asked for a staff presentation on the phasing of the plan, with a view to possibly shifting around priorities, and accelerating the construction of more sports fields and the field house, while moving some other items, including a skateboard park, into later phases.
The sixth phase of the park’s ongoing expansion is going to tender this month and is expected to start construction in July, said Chris Marshall, the Township’s manager of parks design and development.
Phase 8 of the project was prioritized and moved up in the list because it includes the skateboard park, and there had been requests both from families and youths in the area, as well as merchants at the Willoughby Town Centre, who hoped it would draw teenaged skateboarders away from their sidewalks and driveways.
An additional $16 million would be needed for all the remaining phases, Marshall said. Much of that money would come from development cost charges (DCCs) which are fees paid by developers that go towards new parks.
However, some items, by law, can’t be funded with DCCs, including parking lots and artificial turf fields.
Changing the order would mean some work couldn’t start until 2023 at the earliest, Marshall said, and the current high inflation means costs are uncertain.
“We are anticipating higher costs by the time we get to tender,” he said.
Woodward, who has announced he will run for mayor this fall, said he wanted to bring the plan forward with a possible eye towards completing the entire park all at once, instead of in phases over several more years.
He said a borrowing bylaw might allow the Township to do the work all at once while saving money in the long run.
Marshall said one way forward would be to use the existing budget to do all the design work now, and by the time the Township puts together its 2023 budget, there would be a better idea of how much the entire project would cost.