Tall condo towers see support from Langford mayor, opposition from some residents
Langford is one of B.C.'s fastest growing cities, and it’s experiencing growing pains.
Some 50,000 people now call Langford home, but with skyrocketing real estate prices, its mayor, Stew Young, says not enough residents can afford to own their home.
In fact, he says only 30 per cent of folks in Langford own their homes, while the rest rent.
Young says the solution lies in building lots of condos — which are cheaper than houses.
"The only way to do that here is to go higher here, and to make sure it's affordable. So you go into airspace," said Young on Monday.
"So you got the same amount of land in a downtown core, and you go higher."
Young's vision is for multiple residential towers, 18 stories or taller, in the area of Peatt Road near Goldstream Avenue – creating a dense downtown core with more affordable housing.
There are currently two development projects in that neighbourhood before council, awaiting decisions on rezoning.
Each proposal involves two towers, ranging in size from 18 to 24 storeys tall. Both proposed projects include daycares and parking, amongst other amenities.
But not everyone is happy with the potential developments.
Some folks living in the area worry that more density will overwhelm the city’s infrastructure. Others have expressed concerns about an increase in traffic or a loss of green space.
A petition started by a resident who lives near the proposed developments had garnered more than 80 signatures from people in the neighbourhood by Monday afternoon. The petition seeks to reduce the density and height of the projects, calling for lower towers than those proposed.
However, the developers note the designs fit the official community plans in terms of density.
They also claim that studies of the area show traffic and infrastructure won't be overwhelmed.
The mayor says tall towers are better for the environment. Young says larger towers have a smaller footprint on a lot than multiple individual homes, or six-storey buildings, and can potentially reduce vehicle use.
"You use your car four times less when you're in a downtown core in a building," said Young.
"You don’t even use a car. Right now, there’s no opportunity in our downtown core to be carless," he said.
Council is expected to make a decision on the rezoning in a month. If the projects get the green light, shovels are expected in the ground in roughly one year.