Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Langford honours former fire chief by rededicating inclusive park

Built in 1981 in the Goldstream Meadows neighbourhood in West Langford, Cressida Park has been renamed Chief Al LeQuesne Park and redesigned with accessible and inclusive playground equipment and pathways.

Langford has honoured long-time former fire chief Al LeQuesne by naming a city park in his honour.

Family, friends and city officials gathered on Humpback Road on Thursday afternoon for the reopening of the former Cressida Park under its new name, Chief Al LeQuesne Park.

LeQuesne, who died March 1, 2022 at age 86, was the chief of Langford Fire for 33 years and served the community for more than four decades.

He was credited with several initiatives that made Langford a safer city, including acquiring the first set of hydraulic life-saving tools (Jaws of Life), establishing a third fire hall near Goldstream Park and bringing the 911 system to the community.

The park was built in 1981 in the Goldstream Meadows neighbourhood in West Langford, and has been redesigned with accessible and inclusive playground equipment and pathways — something LeQuesne’s family found fitting.

Dave LeQuesne, son of the former fire chief, said he was grateful to the city for giving his father’s name to a family park.

He said his father gave 44 years to the community, and was all about “family, children and Langford.”

“Dad would always take time out to show a child the fire truck or fire hall. He always made sure children with disabilities were never left out. The park the city has built reflects the values of our dad. It’s a park where all families can come and enjoy the family values of our father and all children can play.”

Victoria Contracting & Municipal Maintenance won a bid to renovate the park, and Habitat Systems provided the playground equipment.

The playground includes equipment for two- to five-year-olds and those up to age 12, and features accessible and inclusive elements:

• A 20-metre cable zipline

• A 12-foot Super Netplex with accessible centre spiral belting. The belt climber allows those who use wheelchairs and have upper body strength to transfer themselves onto the belt, allowing them to make their way up to the upper levels to play with their peers.

• A Friendship Swing, which allows several children and adults of various mobilities to swing together. The swing is also set at a transfer height for easy transfer from a wheelchair so that all can swing together.

• A Sway Fun Glider, which is the first wheelchair-accessible glider. It has a play table with cup holders and wheelchair handholds and room for two wheelchairs plus two large benches for other passengers. A ramp adds greater accessibility for users of all ages and mobilities.

• A Smart Play Loft, which includes 20 interactive activities, such as a mailbox talk tube, alphabet panel, belt climber, flower/leaf spinners, all addressing developmentally appropriate skills.

The park was designed by the city’s parks department, which consulted with nearby residents and the Willway Elementary School parent advisory council to collect feedback on key features.

Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson said he hopes the new park is a “meaningful gathering place” for the family and friends of Chief LeQuesne.

“We want to take this time to acknowledge his service and that of all first responders,” said Goodmanson. “Langford council remains focused on improving accessibility and inclusivity in city parks to allow all residents to play and participate.”

[email protected]

>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: [email protected]