Approximately 100 residents packed Langford council chambers for the final public hearing on a controversial land rezoning proposal Monday evening.
The majority of attendees echoed praise to the developers, Langdon Weir Construction Ltd., for their ability to accommodate 40 per cent green space, around 26 acres. This is a notable change from 25 per cent at their first proposal to the community earlier this year.
Nonetheless, the meeting ended without any promises being made.
“We were really going for a firm commitment today, but we didn’t get that,” said Nicole Polet, member of Citizens of South Langford for Sustainable Development (CSLSD).
Polet was the first of many residents who spoke their support of the development – on the condition that there would be a promise of protected parkland.
This idea has been agreed on by the land developer and the Land Conservancy of BC, but the final puzzle piece that’s missing is Langford’s city council, specifically their Parkland Acquisition Reserve Fund, currently valued at $2 million dollars.
“You have a rare opportunity here,” Polet said to council. “In Langford, there is a lack of parks, there’s an official community plan that supports this, and there are funds in the Parkland Acquisition Reserve.”
The size of a protected nature park is still yet to be determined.
“This process has allowed us to listen to the public,” said Adam Weir, of Langdon Weir Construction Ltd., to the council. “We have a tight timeline to complete work. With the current density, we will have four to five homes per acre. We’re asking for the council to support this application.”
Notably, Langford bought a $2.2 million oceanfront property in early November. The 22-acre piece of land along Finlayson Arm Road is planned for eco-tourism and recreation. The property is expected to be open to the public in the spring and be paid for over three years.
“We never had the chance to buy parkland back when we first became a city in 1992,” said Mayor Stew Young at the hearing. “With over 40,000 people in Langford, council is working hard to make sure we have a balance for future generations. We know we have to make spaces for our kids and grandkids in the future.”
If the City of Langford doesn’t get on board, the CSLSD will have to rely on the developer to absorb the cost.
“We’re glad that this idea of preservation is starting to get noticed in Langford,” Polet said. “We just have to continue to hold them accountable.”