The City of Langford is testing the waters on what to do with a piece of property near Langford Lake and the Ed Nixon Trail.
Mayor Stew Young said the city purchased the 3.8-acre piece of land, located at the south corner of West Shore Parkway and Trans-Canada Highway, 15 years ago for future Department of Highways improvements and to enable the closure of Goldstream Avenue.
“Residents didn’t like people flying off the highway,” Young said. “Highways is looking at a flyover there, so we couldn’t do anything on either side until highways let us know where they wanted the flyover to go. Now we know it’s on the right side, so it’s an orphaned piece of property we’re trying to sell to get the best value and the best use by doing something that benefits the community.”
The land, currently valued at between $4 million and $8 million, used to be part of a gravel pit, and there’s already a business park nearby, he said.
Noting that Nixon donated the waterfront property, Young said the city’s parcel would be accessed via the parkway to avoid adding traffic to Goldstream Avenue, adding the purchaser would have to build an access road.
“We want to recoup our taxpayers’ dollars to make improvements along Goldstream Avenue, add more parking and trail access to Langford Lake, and extend the Ed Nixon boardwalk to West Shore Parkway,” he explained.
“We’re looking at all proposals closely, including a small hotel, and we’ll go from there. We’re looking for some kind of commercial that fits in with pedestrian and cyclist use. We want to create a destination like a little village hub, something with a bistro or restaurant so people walking or cycling around the lake can enjoy an ice cream or a meal.”
Young stressed that the property is not on the lake, is not a riparian area or environmentally sensitive, and is closely monitored by staff for any issues that may arise, such as flooding. “Whoever purchases the property will have to follow all environmental regulations,” he added.
Not everyone is in agreement with selling and developing the land, however.
Langford Voters for Change, a group that wants to change the way the city is governed, is circulating a petition urging Langford to take the property off the market and preserve it as a nature park. The petition says the property is “an area with potential habitat and biodiversity values and dedicating it as parkland would make an important contribution to the City’s sustainability goals.”
The petition claims the property provides nesting habitat for birds and small mammals including the endangered Western painted turtle. It also states the majority of people who phoned into a public hearing on Nov. 2, 2020 to rezone the property from Amenity to Tourist, Commercial and Residential objected to a proposal for a hotel and 30 residential townhouse units.
The Goldstream Gazette was unable to contact Langford Voters for Change before deadline for more details.
Check out the petition at langfordvoters.ca/petition1.php.
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