Veterans Memorial Park is set to double in size with the City of Langford’s purchase of the neighbouring Goldstream Masonic Hall site.
The Goldstream Masonic Hall Association had been looking for a new use for the site for a number of years when Langford proposed buying the property.
The 1.35-acre site cost $4 million, which is coming from developer-paid parks development cost charges.
“You couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” said Doug Peterson, Goldstream Masonic Lodge’s worshipful master. “We’ve been working for 15 years for a solution – whether it was a new building with senior housing, whether it was selling this and moving somewhere else. Langford, they moved quickly, they came to bat with a great idea, so it’s a win-win for the community, the municipality and for us. It just couldn’t be a better arrangement for the longevity of the park and for this lodge and the Masons.”
The Aldwynd Road access to Goldstream Avenue will be closed in 2023 when work on the park expansion begins. Once the roadway is closed, crews will integrate the existing portion of the park with the expanded area. Plans include protecting the large sequoia tree – which is featured in Langford’s annual holiday light-up celebrations – as well as all mature trees on the site. Langford also plans to install a sidewalk along one side of Fairway Avenue.
The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.
Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91, said the expansion would help accommodate the increasingly larger crowds at Remembrance Day services, as the current space was reaching its capacity.
Langford Mayor Stew Young added it would also help the growing Goldstream Farmers’ Market and preserve green space as the city moves towards densification and building up its downtown. “Every city should have a central park.”
The Goldstream Masonic Hall Association had previously looked at partnering with the Greater Victoria Housing Society to construct senior housing, but that idea never materialized. Now, the Masons will move to a new location on Bryn Maur Road, with details being finalized and construction on a new hall set to be complete in September 2023.
The Goldstream Masonic Lodge opened in 1955 and the iconic sequoia was planted by two Langford youth when the hall was constructed.