Work has begun to remove the hydro pole that has long loomed over the north side of Starlight Stadium in Langford.
Cranes moved into position and work started Wednesday (Nov. 16) to move the hydro pole to the other side of Langford Parkway, in theory clearing the way for an expansion to the stadium. The tower will be replaced with a new one in between the railway tracks and the parking lot off Leigh Place. Another tower located near the roundabout on Langford Parkway south of Leigh Road will also be moved.
The work is set to cost $4.25 million, with another $275,000 budgeted for mobile bleachers to be used at City Centre Park and Starlight Stadium.
In October 2021, Langford council approved the move “to ensure public safety, and provide unrestricted access to the Stadium for both community and professional user groups,” according to a statement put out by the City of Langford.
Goodnight, Sweet Prince. pic.twitter.com/e5w0I3vlXl
— The Hydro Pole (@TheHydroPole) November 16, 2022
The work is set to be completed by March 31, 2023, avoiding any impacts to the start of the new season for Pacific FC, according to a city spokesperson. The city added there should be minimal traffic disruptions and there is no planned power outages during the work.
The sight of the crane was exciting for fans of the soccer team, according to Paul Beirne, managing director of Pacific FC, both for those who come to games and watch on TV. In-person fans could soon have more seating options once the hydro pole is cleared, while the TV broadcasts are expected to be improved. The hydro pole meant TV cameras had to be set up at a very low angle, but the cameras will be able to be raised higher once the pole is removed.
“We haven’t come to a conclusion yet but it definitely represents an opportunity,” said Beirne.
Beirne said the club would discuss plans with the City of Langford and the newly elected council in the future, but would likely use some of the mobile bleachers they already have on-site at the stadium come the new season.
“In the coming months, the newly elected council will review concept plans and budget for the proposed stadium expansion and will make a decision during the 2023 budget approval process,” a city spokesperson said in a statement.