Langford's Westhills Stadium will double seating capacity

Seating at Langford’s Westhills Stadium could more than double, bringing it into the same league as Centennial Stadium and Royal Athletic Park.

As many as 2,000 more seats are slated for Westhills, pushing the total into the 3,000 range.

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The University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium has seating for 5,000, while the City of Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park seats 2,237 for soccer and has a capacity of about 3,500 for baseball with the Victoria HarbourCats.

Langford council has approved the Westhills project, which will be taken on by Vancouver-based Centaur Products. The company has previously worked on such sites as the Richmond Olympic Oval and the University of Toronto Varsity Field.

Part of the impetus for the increased capacity is the return this October of the Americas Rugby Championship to Westhills, after a successful debut last year. Temporary seating allowed 3,255 fans to take in the final game, won 28-9 by Argentina over Canada.

Up to 50 per cent of the $465,000 cost to add the seating will be covered by a federal grant, with official announcement of the funding due next week.

Westhills Stadium is part of Langford’s City Centre Park complex and is a focal point for Rugby Canada activities. It was originally known as Bear Mountain Stadium, but the name was changed last fall.

Adding seats is not a matter of measuring up to other capital region venues, said Langford parks and recreation manager Mike Leskiw.

“It’s not a competitive thing at all.”

“What we’re trying to do is draw more tournaments,” said Coun. Lanny Seaton, who chairs Langford’s parks, recreation, culture and beautification committee.

At present, the stadium has about 1,200 regular seats and 500 portables, Leskiw said. “It all depends on how they can fit it in, but between 1,500 and 2,000 seats will be added.”

In addition to national-calibre rugby, the stadium is home to the Westshore Rebels of the B.C. Football Conference and regularly features both Juan de Fuca Soccer Association teams and school sports.

Rugby Canada could be bringing more events, as well, Leskiw said.

“As they get closer to the build-up to the Olympic Games in 2016, rugby’s going to be part of that.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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