Langford’s downtown core might see some more growth upwards in the near future.
Three 12-storey residential and commercial towers at the corner of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue are being recommended for approval by the city’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee.
The project would combine 10 parcels of land that run along Peatt Road between Goldstream and Hockley avenues, into three parcels. Most of those lots are currently residential with the exception of a consignment store on the corner of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue.
The towers would have commercial space on the ground floor and residential units above.
The unique thing about them, according to Langford Mayor Stew Young, is that they would be constructed out of wood.
“It’s kind of groundbreaking,” Young said.
The City signed an agreement with the provincial government to use wood in taller buildings and Young said it would be a great use of local materials.
“That puts some life back in the forest industry,” Young said. “It’s about time we started looking at what we have available in Canada and start to promote the use of wood because it grows right here in B.C.”
The proposal also fits into the City of Langford’s Official Community Plan, which calls for more density downtown, Young said.
The plan designates the City Centre as an area that supports high density housing, — both affordable and rental — employment, civic uses and community gathering. It is also supposed to be the City’s major entertainment and culture area as well as a transit hub.
Young said building taller buildings saves on valuable land space. He also said the project will create jobs in Langford, a city where 60 per cent of the population works in the trades and industry.
“Langford is quite supportive of this,” Young said. “We’re making sure that we have jobs for the people.”
For those that may be concerned about increased traffic and congestion, Young said increasing density in the core should make things better, rather than worse.
He noted for people living in the core, everything they need will be within walking distance and there won’t be any use for their vehicles, especially as more businesses come to the core as well. Increased service from BC Transit over the years has also helped with traffic.
“Twenty-five years ago you didn’t have that in Langford, you had to drive everywhere,” Young said.
In a city were about 70 per cent of single-family homes are owned by residents Young said projects like this will help maintain that trend, giving residents the opportunity to save for a single-family home.
“Affordable housing is important and it’s council’s job to make sure it’s one of our biggest priorities so that people can actually own a home in Langford,” Young said.
Next steps for this proposal will include a public hearing and then it will be brought to council for approval.
The applicant is intending to start construction on the most southern property which abuts Hockley Avenue, according to the proposal.
Council would first have to increase the maximum height allowed for buildings in the zone from 11 to 12 storeys and also allow the buildings to be within 30 metres of each other.