City Of Langford: Rumours Of Pacific Moving Out Of Starlight ‘Unfounded’
Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC has found itself in the midst of some city councillor controversy over the last few days, prompting both the City of Langford and club representative Paul Beirne to go on the record to say neither the club nor the city have any intention of transplanting Pacific FC.
The drama seems to have started when Colwood councillor Ian Ward posted to multiple social media sites on January 18, starting that not only was the City of Victoria exploring the relocation of Pacific FC, but that Langford city council were effectively supporting the move and were ‘forcing out’ Pacific in a hostile manner.
The post prompted the City of Langford to say that it was ‘deeply concerned’ about Ward’s comments, with the city stating that it has a long-established partnership with Pacific FC and that there was no desire to change that. In its response, the city also stated that a new five-year term between Pacific FC and Starlight Stadium was in the works and would be completed soon.
Pacific FC Managing Director Paul Beirne subsequently told CHEK News that Starlight Stadium will continue to be the home for the club just as it has been for the last five years, with Langford councillor Keith Yacucha also confirming that negotiations for a new term were underway before calling the Ward’s rumour unfounded. Yacucha also mentioned that further stadium expansion was still on the table for Starlight, but needed to make economic sense.
“We are working closely with the City of Langford for the coming season and beyond,” said Paul Beirne on the matter.
Ward, who says he would not reveal the source that prompted his initial comment about a forced move to Victoria, encouraged a commentor to file a freedom of information request with Victoria regarding communications with PFC, and chided the ‘secret admins’ of the Langford Voters Facebook group for allegedly deleting a post and not upholding transparency amongst the community-focused Facebook group.
The City of Victoria has not commented on the matter.
Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC brought Vancouver Island its first national championship trophy since 1966, with the Tridents winning the league in 2021 and proving themselves to be perennial title contenders who draw a decent crowd in the west coast. The club averaged about 3,241 fans in 2023, a slight tick upwards from the year prior. The stat doesn’t include the club’s bumper crowd for a cup match against MLS neighbours Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The City of Langford has invested in two stages of renovations for Starlight Stadium thus far, the first of which ran a bill of some $8.8 million and added three roofed grandstands, new washrooms, water bottle stations, dressing rooms, and parking during the CPL’s inaugural season in 2019. The second phase saw the financially hefty removal of a hydro pole next to the stadium, with the city also having leased land to the club for the largest fieldhouse in the province.
Ward says that Langford has an ideological opposition to turf fields and the expansion of sports facilities, despite the above.
“Given the City’s meaningful partnership with PFC, and the ongoing commitment to this regionally-utilized venue, the City does not believe that a neighbouring community would enter into discussions with a team that is already located in Greater Victoria,” read a statement from Langford city staff.
Pacific FC will kick off its home opener against the Halifax Wanderers on April 13, with the full season schedule set to be released tomorrow.
Header Image Photo Credit: Sheldon Mack