Langford’s hope of attracting a tech park to a stretch of property on Leigh Road is not dead yet.
A row of boarded up City of Langford-owned houses along the east side of the former residential block have sat untouched for long enough that motorists and other residents using the Leigh Road interchange have begun ignoring the empty buildings.
But with plans in place to move three of the remaining five structures off the site, the city’s ultimate goal appears a little closer.
Mayor Stew Young said the plan since the city bought out homeowners in the 2700-block of Leigh Rd. – and subsequently offered up their homes for free last spring in return for moving them off the property – has been to save as many of the buildings as possible from demolition. That’s despite an initial recommendation to knock them down.
“We still think the houses are in good shape. The structure is good,” he said. “It’s good that council gave everybody time (to come up with a plan to move them) to try not to demolish them.”
Within the next couple of months, Young said, the city will be investigating business and development opportunities that could piggyback onto a tech use. He expects that developers will come forward with ideas for the property and designs that will jive with the city’s goal for the land, which he sees as one of the main entranceways to Langford.
With council having identified the area as suitable for tech-related businesses – the fibre optic lines are already in place – the possibilities are there to create a new employment sector in the city, Young said.
“If you brand it as a tech park, then people know Langford is friendly to tech firms,” he said, adding the property is pretty much the last place to locate a tech centre in the city.
Young hopes that attracting the tech industry, and the high-paying jobs that come with it, would not only create more Langford-based employment, but also convince the provincial government to locate more offices on the West Shore.
“All I ask is give me one building and we’ll make it happen,” said the mayor, anxious to prove that doing so would help alleviate the mass morning exodus from Langford and the afternoon commute from downtown. “We need to put government offices where the people are.”