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Langford adds land to double size of Veterans Memorial Park

The City of Langford is adding 1.35 acres of land to Veterans Memorial Park with adjacent property purchased from the Goldstream Masonic Lodge.

The City of Langford is adding 1.35 acres of land to Veterans Memorial Park with adjacent property purchased from the Goldstream Masonic Lodge.

The addition will double the size of the park while providing more green space and extra capacity for public markets and events, Langford Mayor Stew Young said at the announcement Tuesday.

The $4-million purchase price will be covered by development cost charges accumulated from developers, meaning there is no cost to taxpayers, Young said.

The land is located on Goldstream Avenue, Fairway Avenue and Aldwynd Road. A section of Aldwynd Road will be permanently closed — something that has been in Langford’s plans for a decade.

“Staff have been working with the Masons for many months and we’re grateful for their collaboration with the city,” said Yari Nielsen, Langford’s director of parks, recreation and facilities.

He said the park expansion will be completed by the end of 2024, “with the goal of being complete in time for our annual holiday light-up.”

Nielsen said the land purchase will mean the protection of a large sequoia tree off Goldstream Avenue, which is decorated for the light-up event. The tree was planted in the 1950s by two youths, at the time the current lodge was built.

In addition to the sequoia, all mature trees on site are expected to be retained and incorporated in the new park design.

Young said places like the park, which is located in the downtown core, are important as the area is densified. “This is what we need to do, to move forward to build a complete community.”

The park has been important in bringing people together, and is particularly popular on Remembrance Day, the mayor said.

“We definitely needed the extra space just for that alone,” he said. “We’re looking forward for this great green space. It’s going to be exciting for everybody, exciting for the downtown core.”

Langford Legion president Norm Scott said he appreciates the expansion effort. He said the park and its cenotaph are an “incredibly special location” that means a lot to veterans and residents.

Young said the Goldstream Farmers’ Market also does well in the park. It is in its ninth year there and has 40 vendors already lined up.

West Shore Chamber of Commerce president Ingrid Vaughan said the park attracts everything from picnics and parties to concerts, dancing and sports events. “This park is a well-used and busy, vital part of the City of Langford and all the West Shore, really.”

The expansion will be “an incredible addition,” she said.

Another park feature will be a labyrinth, with the Rotary Club of West Shore committing $10,000 to the effort. A labyrinth is a pathway that offers a place for reflection and meditation, and can be good for mental health, said Rotary member Bob Beckett.

Lodge master Douglas Peterson said the lodge’s hall has been in its spot next to the park for about 70 years. The Masons will be relocating to Bryn Maur Road, where they will build a new facility with a lodge room, a meeting hall available for rent by the public and ground-floor commercial space.