VICTORIA -- The Premier of British Columbia announced the opening of a new co-working space for public servants living on the West Shore on Thursday.

The Westhills Sharespace in Langford will be open to provincial employees in all ministries, allowing them to skip the commute into downtown Victoria.

More than 2,000 provincial employees – or 20 per cent of B.C. public service workers in Victoria – live in the West Shore communities of Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Sooke, View Royal and Highlands, according to the province.

"By putting shared space here in Langford, that allows countless public servants to do their work to make B.C. better closer to their home, which means more time for their families, less impact on our infrastructure and less impact on climate change," Horgan said Thursday.

"It's cost effective, it's good for the environment, it's good for people and it's long overdue," he added.

The premier credited Langford Mayor Stew Young for "constantly beating the drum" on the new office space, something Horgan said has been in the works since he was first elected as an MLA in 2005.

"Shared space provides that opportunity to have workers come to a place where they can collaborate, where they can work together for better outcomes without having to go through the long commute into Victoria," Horgan said.

The premier said he hopes the Langford pilot project will be the first of many co-working spaces for public service employees, saying similar initiatives are being explored for the Saanich Peninsula, Nanaimo, and the Okanagan.

"The pandemic will not be with us forever," Horgan said. "We need to plan for the day when we can go back to what used to be normal."

The province says the new office features a mix of shared workspace and private rooms, with views of Langford Lake. It also has electric-vehicle charging stations, bike storage, day-use lockers and showers that promote active and green transportation options.

“I’m so excited for this space to open, as it’ll make a huge difference on my commute time to work and will allow me to spend more time with my family,” said Su-Mei MacDonnell, a B.C. government employee and Colwood resident, in a statement.

The 930-square-metre co-working space in the Lakepoint One building officially opens Monday, Feb. 22.