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Westhills Langford Lake Foreshore Project and Turtle Habitat Improvement

Westhills Langford Lake Foreshore Project and Turtle Habitat Improvement

Over the coming weeks and months Westhills Land Corp., owners of private lands located around a portion of Langford Lake will be working to improve turtle habitat nesting areas including the installation of basking logs, removal of invasive species and the addition of fencing to prevent access to sensitive habitat areas. During this time there will be intermittent closures of the Ed Nixon Trail so the work can be completed in a safe and timely manner. The Trail will only be closed temporarily during periods when work is actively underway. If the trail is not physically barricaded, it remains open for use. City staff will provide timely updates via the City website including updated timelines and project updates. In addition to the turtle habitat area, Westhills will be improving public access to Langford Lake with the addition of a floating dock, a picnic area, additional seating, and bike racks. Once the work is complete, Westhills will be dedicating the park land to the City of Langford for public use.

BACKGROUND

  • Westhills owns a 3-acre property on the south shore of Langford Lake. Westhills constructed the Ed Nixon trail through this land and has permitted the public to utilize it for the past 16-years.
  • The Lakefront Project was originally established as a requirement of the City in the first rezoning of Westhills in 2007.
  • High-level design commenced in 2016, including input from engineers, biologists, and planners.
  • The project was re-confirmed in the Parkland Dedication Agreement between Westhills and the City of Langford as part of the second rezoning of Westhills in June 2022.
  • Estimated value of the project is one million dollars, paid for by Westhills.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Improved public access to Langford Lake as well as the addition of a floating pier to help meet increasing local demand for passive recreation and public access to the Lake.
  • The project will divert activity away from sensitive turtle nesting habitat areas.
  • Most trees (over 90%) on site will be retained, with particular focus on mature trees.
  • Limbing and clearing of understory will occur in selected areas to increase sunlight and create space for a public gathering area, picnic tables, seating, garbage receptacles, bike racks, and lake access.
  • Approximately half of the property will be converted to Habitat Enhancement Areas, with strong measures to preserve existing and will create and restore new habitat for the endangered Western Painted Turtle. Improvements include:
    • Exposing organic soils in key areas for nesting
    • Installation of basking logs
    • Fencing to prevent pet/human access to sensitive breeding areas
    • Removal of invasives
  • Permanent informational signage on the Western Painted Turtle will be installed, and educational materials will be mailed to residents around Langford Lake.
  • Foreshore lands and the amenity improvements will be donated to the City as public open space

APPROXIMATE TIMELINE

November 2022 to January 2023: turtle habitat enhancement

January 2023 to June 2023: tree limbing, understory removal, trail installation, installation of seating

Summer 2023: Installation of floating dock

KEY PERMITS & APPROVALS

  • Federal Fisheries & Oceans Canada (DFO) – Project Review Comments (July 2018)
  • City of Langford – Development Permit (December 2018)
    • Development Permit was conditional on securing Provincial approvals
  • Province of BC (Ministry of Forests) – Section 11 Approval (April 2022)
  • Province of BC (Ministry of Forests) – Crown Land Tenure (April 2022)
  • City of Langford – Development Permit (June 2022)
    • Renewal and amendment to the 2018 Development Permit

CONSULTATION & SUPPORT

  • Original concept included in the 2007 Westhills public rezoning process
  • Project plans and layouts were created in partnership with City staff and previous Mayor and Council carefully refined with input from biologists and provincial habitat officers
  • In July 2021, public consultation was undertaken as part of the Provincial Crown Tenure process which included:
    • Signs staked at project site for 30-days
    • Ads placed in Goldstream Gazette for two consecutive weeks
    • Project layout and Management Plan were available for review and public comment on the Ministry of Forests website
  • Letters of support for this project have been issued by several local partners such as the City of Langford (in 2018 and 2020) and the Vancouver Island YMCA-YWCA

STUDIES & REPORTS

The following studies and reports were commissioned in support of the project and as part of the approvals listed above:

  • Amenity site plans and civil servicing reports (On Point Project Engineers)
  • Aquatic Effects Assessment (SNC Lavalin)
  • Riparian Area Revegetation Plan (Corvidae Environmental)
  • Western Painted Turtle Habitat Assessment & Protection Plan (Corvidae Environmental)
    • Builds on the WPT Management Plan commissioned by City of Langford in 2015
  • Streamside Protection & Enhancement Area (SPEA) calculations and technical memo (Corvidae Environmental)
  • Management Plan for the construction and ongoing operations of Crown Tenure area
  • Landscape Concept Plan (LADR Landscape Architects)
  • Erosion & Sedimentation Control / Spill Prevention & Emergency Plan (Corvidae Environmental)

KEY CONTACTS

City of Langford

Yari Nielsen, Director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities

250-478-7882 | parks@langford.ca

Westhills Land Corp.

Chase Vogler, Project Manager

250-383-9281 | info@westhillsbc.com

PROJECT RENDERINGS

PROJECT MAP

SUMMARY OF WORK COMPLETED

What is Happening at Langford Lake:
Based on the lake study from 2022, it was identified that Western Painted Turtle (WPT) nesting habitat is very limited on the south shore of Langford Lake. As a result, we are creating nesting habitat for the red-listed WPT.

For the nesting sites we need: a dry, well-drained site with soil, sand or gravel substrates that have minimal or no plant cover. This is typically an exposed patch of fairly compacted soil or sand where digging is possible, often on an open, gentle, south-facing slope.

Prior to the start of all work, we completed the following:
– Ensured no bird nests and no nesting or burrowing wildlife.
– Ensured the WPT that hibernate in the winter in the mud, are outside of the area we are working.

November 26, 2022

  • Continued trail improvements.
  • Hauling off site.
  • Continued chipping.
  • Demobilize wood chipper.

No work will be conducted from November 27th to December 11th. The trail will be open.

December 12th to December 17th

  • Continue creating turtle nesting habitat.
  • Construction of split rail fence.
  • The Trail will be Open for the Annual Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 17th

November 23, 2022

  • Hauling stumps off site.
  • Continue to add nesting substrate.

November 22, 2022

  • Hauling stumps off site.
  • General trail maintenance.
  • Adding nesting substrate.

Proposed work for November 21,2022

  • Mobilize more posts to site.
  • Mobilize equipment into site.
  • Chipping.
  • Hauling stumps off site.
  • Continue to remove and clear vegetation for the turtle nest sites.

November 19, 2022

  • A large, mobile spill kit capable of managing a 100-litre spill to water was located adjacent to the work area.
  • Equipment operating near the highwater mark was clean and free of leaks, biodegradable hydraulic oil was used.
  • Fuel stored > 30 m from any lake.
  • Removal of invasive vegetation.
  • Removal of riparian vegetation for turtle nesting sites. This includes clearing and excavation.
  • Orange fencing was removed from the trail once work was completed so people could use the trail in the evening. It will be reinstalled Monday morning.

November 18, 2022

  • Mobilizing equipment. Splits rails, excavator.
  • A large, mobile spill kit capable of managing a 100-litre spill to water was located adjacent to the work area.
  • Equipment operating near the highwater mark was clean and free of leaks, biodegradable hydraulic oil was used.
  • Fuel stored > 30 m from any lake
  • Removal of invasive vegetation.
  • Removal of riparian vegetation for turtle nesting sites. This includes chainsaw clearing and excavation
  • Orange fencing was removed from the trail once work was completed so people could use the trail in the evening. It will be reinstalled tomorrow morning.

November 17, 2022

  • Installation of signage for public users. 
  • Installation of construction fencing for public safety.
  • Widening of trail for mobilizing equipment.
  • Mobilizing equipment. Splits rails, excavator. 
  • A large, mobile spill kit capable of managing a 100-litre spill to water was located adjacent to the work area.
  • Equipment operating near the highwater mark was clean and free of leaks, biodegradable hydraulic oil was used.
  • Fuel stored > 30 m from any lake
  • Flagging of clearing perimeter
  • Removal of invasive vegetation.
  • Removal of riparian vegetation for turtle nesting sites. This includes chainsaw clearing and excavation 
  • Orange fencing was removed from the trail once work was completed so people could use the trail in the evening. It will be reinstalled tomorrow morning.
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