(Clemente Property Group)

It’s three decades in the making.

Government employees living in the West Shore may not have to face the dreaded downtown commute much longer.

On Wednesday, the province unveiled details of a pilot program that will provide 10,000 square feet of office space dedicated to government employees who live in the West Shore communities of Colwood, Langford, View Royal, Metchosin, Sooke and the Highlands.

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“For over 25 years, my council and I have been advocating for government offices in Langford,” said Stew Young, mayor of Langford.

“My hope is that this office will be the first of many. It will allow our residents to get out of traffic, have a better work-life balance and spend more time with their families.”

The new office space located on the second floor of the Westhills Building at 1311 Lakepoint Way is the province’s first mobile-only model.

The office is being launched as a pilot, with the goal of expanding the model to other offices in the future. Design plans will have office space for about 100 workers, bike storage, and showers that promote active transportation options for the ride into work.

According to the ministry, more than 2,000 government employees — about 20 per cent of the provincial public service employees who work in Victoria live on the West Shore.

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The province says this move will reduce traffic congestion and emissions, save residents money, and cut commute times.

“After years of demand, our government is moving forward with this pilot project – the first of what we hope will turn into more mobile workspaces, allowing people to live and work in their community and reducing our emissions to help build a brighter future for British Columbians,” said Premier John Horgan.

On average, a person travelling from the Westshore to Victoria for work spends more than two hours a day commuting.

Design work is underway and construction is expected to begin in spring 2020 and should be ready to open by late fall.

The cost of finishing the space is expected to be about $2.2 million.

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