Plans for the development of Western Speedway lands are advancing, as a proposal to rezone the property was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Monday.
The application proposed that the southeastern portion of the land be rezoned to allow 60 residential single family homes, and the remaining portion, which is approximately 50 acres, be rezoned as a business park. The committee was all in favour of moving the motion forward to council.
Langford Coun. Roger Wade said he felt mixed emotions about the proposal, as he has spent much of his life at Western Speedway.
“Seeing the race track go is a very sad thing, but unfortunately with private property, you can’t make people do what they don’t want to do,” said Wade. “I don’t want it to go, but I also see logically this will be the best (outcome) out of a bad situation, if you’re a racer.”
During the Feb. 8 meeting, Les Bjola of Turner Lane Development spoke on behalf of Bastion Development Corporation and Strand Holdings, the companies handling a proposal to purchase the Western Speedway properties.
“There was and is no illusion that we would be able to satisfy everyone, if we were not able to satisfy our due diligence and walked away, there would be someone right behind us ready to try their hand at negotiating with the city,” said Bjola. “The challenge for every developer on this project was to satisfy the city. The city’s challenge, is that this is private property.”
According to the staff report, the developers have proposed allowing racing to continue until the fall of 2022 and have included $2.5 million that would go toward finding a new location for the raceway. They also plan to dedicate eight acres of park space to the city, provide up to $2.1 million and required land for updates to Millstream Road, which would include widening the street, adding a sidewalk and building a roundabout at Bear Mountain Parkway.
During the meeting there was some opposition from residents, primarily concerned with the residential portion of the proposal. Some said they were against extending Trudie Terrace, while others voiced concerns about traffic congestion.
On the other hand, some residents said they were sad to see Western Speedway go, but were pleased with the proposal and appreciated that finding a new location for the race track had been made a priority.
“Overall we feel that we have developed a solid, but in no way perfect, deal for all parties,” said Bjola. “We look forward to the process of rezoning the property, getting to work on the site, and reopening the track.”
-With files from Rick Stiebel
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