Keaton McCloskey

Keaton McCloskey

Area residents worry for future of highway buffer in Langford

Green corridor between Hwy. 1 and neighbouring homes could be developed upon, says residents’ group

With four lots in Langford surrounding the Trans-Canada Highway now in private hands, nearby residents are worried about what might come next.

Tricia Markle, who grew up in Langford and whose mother still lives on Mill Hill, is part of a group seeking to prevent development on the land, which was recently sold by the province as part of its dissolution of the Provincial Capital Commission.

Markle, a graduate student in Minnesota studying conservation biology, has a personal connection to the property.

“It’s actually the forest I grew up on. I spent a lot of time playing back there and it actually led to me taking a career in biology,” she said.

The four parcels range in size from 2.75 to about 33 hectares and had been listed for sale at between $400,000 and $1.3 million. Three are near the Millstream Road overpass and the fourth is across the highway from West Shore Parkway.

When Markle heard about the province putting up the land for sale, she began rallying neighbours and other local residents to work toward preventing heavy development on these properties.

“(The land) to the best of everybody’s knowledge was supposed to be maintained as a green corridor forever. So it came as a big shock,” she said. “There was a lot of interest in trying to preserve it as much as we could to maintain the integrity of that corridor.”

The objections to developing the land are threefold.

The first is the aesthetic beauty of the area, with forest on either side of the Trans-Canada Highway and many properties backing in to wilderness.

Markle also said studies show green corridors serve as a health benefit to residents, as they filter air pollutants coming from vehicles before they reach neighbourhoods.

Lastly, the area is home to much wildlife, including several species of birds. Some of the lots contain sensitive ecosystems, she said. Maps from Langford’s Official Community Plan confirm some of the areas are at least defined as having “potential habitat and biodiversity values.”

“People really appreciate having all these birds in their backyard and amphibians and all the rest of it,” Markle said. “Once that forest is gone, the birds are going to move off.”

Now the land has been sold, the group’s request of the province to donate the parcel nearest Mill Hill as park space are moot.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said he would have liked to see the land donated to the city for preservation, but as it stands, city council won’t become involved unless the new owners apply for rezoning.

Young is aware of the residents’ concerns and believes any development needs to strike a balance between housing and the natural importance of the area. “It’s hard to say what’s going to happen when we haven’t had an application yet. If somebody comes into Langford and wants to rezone it, you can bet we will be protecting trees in the corridor along the road.”

Trails in the area will be preserved by city easements, he added.

The group plans to ask Langford city council to prevent mass development on the same parcel. It is currently zoned R2 – one- and two-family residential. Anything more than that would require council approval.

Markle wants council to develop a green corridor policy to have a reference point for any potential development on all the parcels of lands.

A petition is in the works for neighbouring residents opposed to development to sign. For information visit Save Langford’s Green Corridor on Facebook.

Markle also encourages people to write to Langford to express their opinions on the issue.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

North Saanich has started the design of a crosswalk at the intersection of Mills and Littlewood roads near Garden Child Care Centre, whose owner Tracey McCullough has been calling for such a sidewalk. As such, she has been echoing a previous appeal by the building’s owner, Heather and Cory Hastings, standing respectively with seven-year-old Jack Hastings and five-year-old Felix Hastings. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich moves ahead with crosswalk near child care centre

Crosswalk proposed for Littlewood and Mills roads parts of approved active transportation plan

Colwood city council did a last minute adjustment to this year’s budget, dropping the planned property increase to five per cent. Last year they didn’t increase taxes at all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood agrees to 5% tax increase for 2021, deferring some expenses to next year

Last-minute changes will save the typical Colwood homeowner $56

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read