A 3.3-kilometre corridor creating a “front door” to Bear Mountain is the last cog in Langford’s major road plans, Mayor Stew Young says.
The Bear Mountain Parkway extension is also the first step toward creating another business, recreation and residential hub similar to what exists on Millstream Road, he said.
“It’s one of the last big projects for Langford to do. That’s it. So we’re really excited about it,” Young said.
Young was on site for a soil-turning ceremony with gold-coloured shovels Thursday morning, alongside fellow councillors, Transportation Minister Todd Stone and developers.
The roadway will see Bear Mountain Parkway completed from the intersection of Leigh Road at McCallum Road, near the upper end of the Leigh Road interchange, and continuing uphill to meet the existing Bear Mountain Parkway at the Country Club Way roundabout.
Construction of the $10-million municipal roadway is being funded by five developers. When complete, it will be managed and maintained by the city.
While the roadway up to Bear Mountain is expected to be similar to the one that already exists, Young said there would be businesses — smaller than the big boxes such as Costco nearby — and recreation sites at the base. He likened it to the Millstream interchange, which created opportunities for jobs and economic growth.
“This will do the same,” he said.
It’s also expected to alleviate congestion on Millstream Road and Sooke Road.
Other nearby transportation projects underway or recently completed include the $22-million Westshore Parkway extension, $85-million McKenzie interchange, $34-million Malahat upgrades and $30-million Leigh Road interchange and ramps, all of which involve provincial funding.
Dan Matthews, owner and president of Ecoasis, said Bear Mountain has about 3,000 homeowners and residents. It will eventually have as many as 5,000 homes, with an estimated 12,000 to 13,000 residents, he said.
Ron Coutré, a developer with Southpoint Partners, is another investor in the roadway.
Southpoint Partners owns a 55-acre parcel along the roadway that has been zoned for 2,000 housing units. The Southpoint development will include affordable-housing options, he said.
Coutré has partnered with the city on past infrastructure projects, including the Leigh Road interchange and Millstream interchange, as a developer of the Millstream Village Shopping Centre. Partnerships typically occur through the development cost-charge program, he said, which involves collecting fees from developers to go toward city sewers, parkland and other projects.
Langford council governs the city like a business, he said, eliminating red tape where possible.
“The development community is largely behind this mayor and council, and will continue to do so,” Coutré said.
“Partnerships like we’ve been able to structure here in Langford just simply don’t exist elsewhere.”
Stone said Langford stands out as a municipality where infrastructure projects get done quickly.