Highlanders seek more seats at Bear Mountain

The ambitious Highlanders Football Club needs hundreds of more seats at Bear Mountain stadium to break into the pro leagues, but who will pay remains up in the air.

The ambitious Highlanders Football Club needs hundreds of more seats at Bear Mountain stadium to break into the pro leagues, but who will pay remains up in the air.

The Highlanders men’s team, now only two seasons old, is keen to advance from the United Soccer League’s premier development league to a professional division, but the price of that is having a home stadium with at least 2,500 permanent seats.

Bear Mountain stadium, with about 1,100 grandstand and box seats and hundreds of portable seats, can field “close to 2,000” people, reckoned Mike Leskiw with Langford parks.

Highlanders general manger Drew Finerty pegs available seating at about 1,700, while drawing average crowds of about 1,600 to games.

“We find people are not coming because they think there is no place to sit,” Finerty said. “It’s important to have comfortable, high quality seating with this level of sport. It’s going to stop us from moving to the pro level if we don’t have 2,500 seats.”

The Highlanders finished their second season in fourth place in their division, with a 7-6-3 win-loss-tie record.

After underground utility work is completed, grandstands could be added along the northern edge of the stadium and possibly more behind the goal lines.

The City is willing to work with the club to find more portable seats, said Langford Mayor Stew Young, but taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill, at least without a compelling reason.

The Highlanders need to show a clear business case before City money is spent on more temporary or permanent seating, Young said.

“I like the idea of a bigger stadium, but what we have fits the community uses right now,” the mayor said. “If we see more people are going that can’t be accommodated, then that’s something to look at, but its not happening yet.”

Highlanders owner Alex Campbell said talks with Langford over seating are “in flux.”

There hasn’t been much talk over funding, he said, noting that while the Highlanders are an important user of the stadium, they are a tenant of the stadium.

“We felt our numbers go down a bit last year,” Campbell said. “Our research indicates people want a higher percentage of quality seats in the right viewing spot. For us, that means more premium seats between the 18 yard lines.”

Campbell stressed that the Highlanders organization is happy to remain based in Langford at Bear Mountain stadium.

“I think the city and the community are proud to have the Highlanders calling Langford home,” he said. “We’d like to do more to fit in and add value.”


Just Posted

Officer leads the flare in Saanich Police’s social media

Triangle dance latest addition to Saanich Police social media anthology

BC Ferries looks for more feedback on 25-year plan for Swartz Bay

Some suggestions already under consideration include a cycling route, waterfront park

U.S. college bribery scandal shines light on serious problem in Canada

Looking at the bigger picture of marginalization in universities

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation welcomes new leader

Teri Mooring will take over as president this summer

B.C. resident baffled about welcome mat theft

Security footage shows a woman and her dog taking the mat from the property on March 13

Victim succumbs to injuries suffered in Campbell River hit and run

The female pedestrian that was struck in a hit and run on… Continue reading

Trans Mountain court hearing: B.C. says it won’t reject pipelines without cause

Canada says the proposed amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act must be struck down

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

B.C. father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vernon ordered to reinstate terminated firefighters caught having sex at work

City believes arbitration board erred, exploring options

Most Read