The City of Langford has unveiled plans to turn a recently-acquired oceanfront property on Finlayson Arm into an eco-tourism and recreational site by the spring.
Langford’s director of corporate services, Braden Hutchins, said the City acquired a 22-acre property located at 3680 Trans-Canada Hwy. this year for close to $2.2 million, which is expected to be paid over three years.
In July, a motion to consider issuing a temporary use permit for the site to allow for eco-tourism and recreation uses was passed by Langford council and Hutchins said community members can expect to start making use of the site by the spring.
“Public can make their way over to the waterfront to enjoy the beach or canoeing or kayaking,” Hutchins said.
The City has also entered an agreement with Pacifica Paddlesports, a local company that offers rentals of kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddleboards as well as lessons and tours.
Langford’s manager of business development and events, Donna Petrie, said the City will be working with Pacifica Paddlesports on programming that will be affordable for local families.
Petrie said the City is also in conversation with Rowing BC about using the property for training, teams and connecting high-performance athletes with Langford students and youths.
“We’re in discussions with them about how a rowing club could be established,” Petrie said.
The property currently has two structures – a boathouse for watercraft storage and a log cabin which Petrie said could be used for group functions and events such as small retreats or intimate weddings.
“We want to be good neighbours so nothing would be open late but it would be more for daytime activities,” Petrie added.
Over the winter months, Langford will work on basic improvements like painting and preparing the site and will engage with the neighbours to address any concerns they have. The City will also finalize programming options for the space with plans to release more details in the coming months. Hutchins said Langford is investing $500,000 into the safety and improvements of the site.
“I think the goal for the property is to provide an oceanfront location within Langford for all residents to recreate in a variety of ways at a price point that is affordable for all,” Hutchins said.
Petrie said the Langford fire chief is also working to ensure the area is better-served in terms of forest fire safety. An additional fire rescue boat with the appropriate pumps to fight fires will be added to the area.
The City is looking at working with SD62 as well to see how the property can be used as an outdoor classroom and provide educational opportunities for youths. Petrie said the possibility of having Rowing BC there can benefit Langford youths, as well.
“It’s giving youths oceanfront access to get them on the water and build confidence, skills and educational perspectives,” Petrie said. “And with Rowing BC, it falls in line with high-performance sports in Langford. It’s another sport we can have our local youths inspired by.”