To the sound of drumming and a traditional First Nations song, the Township of Langley and Kwantlen First Nation closed a deal Monday afternoon in council chambers that will see a wholly-owned Kwantlen partnership operate a cafe along with an arts and cultural centre in Fort Langley.
The agreement between the Township and Seyem’ Qwantlen Development Ltd. will see the facility built in the new Bedford Landing Amenity Space at 23255 Billy Brown Rd.
The 2,000 square foot plaza space was built by ParkLane Homes as part of its Bedford Landing Phase 4 residential development and was recently turned over to the Township for public use.
It provides a public access gateway to Bedford Landing that can be used for events, festivals, water sport regattas, or market places.
The Kwantlen company was the winner when the Township made a call for proposals last summer to find a tenant/leaseholder for the space.
“It wasn’t something given out,” Councillor Steve Ferguson commented Monday.
Seyem’ Qwantlen aims to have the facility open by June.
The company plans to call the café and cultural centre Lelem’ (pronounced “laylam”), which means home or house, a place to gather, eat, and share.
Under the terms of the lease agreement, the Township will receive a monthly lease payment over the term of up to 10 years.
The Township will get up to 1,000 hours of free access each year.
Some of the programs and classes currently offered by the Township in the nearby Riverside Room will be moved over to the arts and cultural centre.
Seyem’ Qwantlen will provide non-profit organizations with opportunities to rent the centre, in addition to renting it for private and commercials uses.
“Our concept is a space that brings uniqueness, diversity, and added richness to the community of Fort Langley, which we feel will complement the neighbouring businesses as well as bring in new customers to the region,” said Tumia Knott, a Kwantlen First Nation councillor and president of the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group.
“This will be a place for community programming, art exhibits and classes, and providing coffee and refreshments for those wishing to relax or take on their journey through the nearby river trail or stroll through the village,” Knott said.
“Our goal was to make the amenity space an animated place that will bring year-round life and vitality to the Fort Langley waterfront,” said David Leavers, the Township’s Director of Recreation, Culture, and Parks.
“This is a facility that will attract residents and visitors to Fort Langley and will complement the activities of local rowing and paddling groups and Fort-to-Fort Trail users.”