The race is on to own a historic piece of the West Shore.
Western Speedway, the oldest racetrack in Western Canada, is listed for sale by a Victoria commercial real estate company.
Though the space boasts 81 acres of land – 42 acres can be used for commercial use and 3.34 acres for residential development – Langford’s mayor has his mind set on keeping the speedway as a landmark of the community.
“I support the speedway and want to make sure it doesn’t disappear,” said Stew Young. “It’s part of Langford’s history. Fifty years ago, there wasn’t much to do out here and [the speedway] was where everyone went.”
Established in 1954, the property features a 4/10 mile paved oval track and a recreation park.
Young said he and council would support the potential for rezoning as long as the new owner would preserve the speedway. Langford’s Official Community Plan (OCP) places the property under business or light industrial designation.
It’s zoned for multiple uses including commercial recreation, family residential and rural residential.
Currently, there is no price tag on the property.
Consultant Duncan Thomson said that the property is owned by the estate of Vera Wille, who died in 2018. He says they’re looking for the person who has the best ability to keep the land in its best shape.
Former manager Matt Sahlstrom says the speedway was always the ‘crown jewel’ of the West Shore to him, from the moment he first watched a race at 4 until he finished racing in his early 40s.
“If I were to win the lottery, I would buy it in a heartbeat,” he said. “If it was my choice there would be a speedway there forever, but it’s a private property at the end of the day and the new owners can do what they want with it.”
Western Speedway wrote on its Facebook page that the 2020 season is guaranteed. “We are excited to have a great 2020 season and many more,” reads the post.
The property is being marketed “through a competitive bid process,” according to the realtor, with the deadline for submissions set at June 18, 11 a.m.
“If the new owners keep it the same, maybe we can start racing electric cars,” Young quipped.
– with files from Nina Grossman