West Shore residents had another opportunity this week to voice their opinions and concerns regarding the properties involved in the recent land-swap deal.
“This is a process that has been going on for a year/year-and-a-half, and it’s very complex. The goal is to obviously provide employment and create economic activity for our community,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young.
Land that now falls within the City of Langford’s jurisdiction – commonly referred to as Centre Mountain – was the subject of a public hearing at Monday’s council meeting. Council is considering zoning amendments to make way for a business park as well as residential uses.
One of the main concerns expressed by both Metchosin and Langford residents in attendance was the increase in traffic this development could add to Happy Valley Road. Residents requested that council consider pushing all of the traffic, including residential, through the proposed business park to Sooke Road.
Current plans call for residential development, or the east side of Centre Mountain, to be accessed from Happy Valley Road, while the west side industrial development would be accessed from Sooke Road. Improvements to either roadway will be considered in a traffic study that will be included in this rezoning process.
Young asked that staff consider that option in the traffic study, even if it is just for emergency access.
He compared the project to Bear Mountain Parkway, which is in the process of being completed and will provide an additional access to developments on Skirt Mountain. “The opportunity is there if there are problems in the future,” he noted.
Another concern brought forward by residents was the amount of green space – or buffer space – that would remain between existing residents and the new development.
Langford’s director of planning, Matthew Baldwin, noted the development would be bound under a covenant agreement with the District of Metchosin that provides for a “fairly significant amount of green space” (roughly 50 per cent of the site) and some of that would be used as buffer areas.
He added some of the zoning requests such as the rural residential and cluster housing would match with similar zoning already in place in adjacent areas.
Young noted, “this is a very large project … We’ll make sure that our road networks, sewer and our water – which we’re working on now – are all in place.” Young expected the entire project would have a roughly 15 to 20 year timeline until fully built out. In the meantime, he noted, “our staff are available to talk.”