New major soccer stadium proposed for Victoria area

6 June 2018

If built, a new stadium proposed for Langford in the Greater Victoria area would become one of the largest soccer-football stadiums in the province.

The City of Langford is considering a rebuild of Westhills Stadium – home of the Westshore Rebels junior football team – that would involve building new perimeter grandstands around the field to increase the facility’s seated spectator capacity from 1,718 to 8,000.

This capacity may not seem large, but compared to the size of other outdoor stadiums in BC – except for BC Place Stadium – this makes it a relatively significant project.

The expansion will necessitate the removal of the BC Hydro power lines on the north side of the field to accommodate to additional grandstand.

According to the municipality, the improvements are expected to cost less than $6 million, which will provide a basic stadium design with expanded food concession and washroom facilities. The existing stadium’s covered grandstand was built in 2009 at a cost of $3 million.

With the expanded capacity, it could host BC Lions exhibition games and international friendlies for Canada’s men’s and women’s soccer and rugby teams and potentially become the home field for Victoria’s franchise in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) – a new professional national soccer league.

Other stadiums in the Victoria region are far smaller than the proposed size of the expanded Westhills Stadium. Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria has 5,000 seats, but it can be expanded to up to 30,000 seats, which was the case for the 1994 Commonwealth Games held in the city.

Royal Athletic Park, also located in Victoria, has 3,800 permanent seats, and its capacity was temporarily increased in 2007 for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Across the Strait of Georgia in Metro Vancouver, a few outdoor stadium projects are planned.

The City of Surrey is also contemplating a new outdoor stadium for its bid to join the CPL, and three locations – Cloverdale Fairgrounds, Bridgeview, and Surrey City Centre – have been identified as potential sites for consideration.

Simon Fraser University revived its plans to build a $10-million, 1,800-seat capacity football stadium last year. It will be constructed on the hillside of Terry Fox Field.

And the University of British Columbia is planning a new Thunderbird Stadium, possibly on a different site than the existing facility. The new 5,000-seat stadium would have a smaller footprint so that new housing can be built.

Earlier this spring, UBC opened a new 480-seat baseball stadium, the newest addition to Thunderbird Park’s sports facilities, at a cost of $5 million. Two years ago, Vancouver’s historic Nat Bailey Stadium also saw a capacity increase when an additional 750 seats were added, increasing the ballpark’s capacity to about 6,000.