LANGFORD, B.C. -- The City of Langford bought a parcel of land at 1365 Goldstream Ave. more than a decade ago, with the idea of using it for highway improvement.

“But we don’t need it,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young. “Highways doesn’t need it. It’s just an orphaned piece of property.”

Now, the 4.6-acre site is up for sale, and that has angered some residents.

A local group called Langford Voters for Change has created a petition against the sale. Members want to see the land turned into park space instead.

The petition builds on a letter from Brian Belcher, a Langford resident, to the mayor. In the letter, Belcher argues that the area has ecological value and should be protected.

“It’s really important in the winter because we get flooding; we get overflow and that area does get flooded,” said Belcher. “It absorbs quite a bit of the water that would otherwise be in langford lake and raising lake levels even higher.”

It’s a claim the mayor doesn’t dispute. Some of the flood plain will be sold off in order to create an access point from Westshore Parkway, to keep traffic off of Goldstream Avenue.

“The only access would be through Westshore Parkway, and right beside that is some industrial buildings and there are some highway maintenance yards and things like that,” said the mayor.

Young says 70 per cent of the flood plain is already protected by the City of Langford, and that isn’t going to change.

Belcher also points out that the area is used by nesting birds and is a hunting ground for raptors.

“It’s happening way too fast,” said Tom Watson, one of more than 1,800 people who have signed the petition since it went live on Thursday.

Watson wants to see development in Langford slowed down.

“You know, at one point, it was really good,” he said. “Now, you take out every tree, you take out every wetland, you blast every rock. It’s just too fast.”

“I’m just hoping that this petition, this public attention will help the city start to think about some of those ecological considerations and not just the development considerations,” added Belcher.

Langford is planning on using the proceeds of the sale to complete the Ed Nixon Trail around Langford Lake. Currently, users of the trail have to walk along Goldstream Avenue to complete the trek around the lake. The proposed changes would see a safe path created along Goldstream Avenue.