Monday November 7, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 11:03 am | and morning of November 8, 2022]
Political analysis by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
UPDATE/EVENT REPORT: Langford Inaugural council meeting: New Langford council sworn-in on a snowy November night
The newly elected mayor and councillors in Langford said they wanted a big turnout for their inaugural meeting on November 7. In response, staff came up with the idea of using the public theatre at Belmont Secondary School.
All of that unfolds tonight at 7 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm). The auditorium holds about 250 people.
This move-forward combination of council-elect and City of Langford municipal staff has been underway for a few weeks. The election for mayor and six councillors was on October 15.
New mayor, five fresh councillors:
Langford is, indeed, where it all happens.
With no previous elected experience, Langford is now led by Scott Goodmanson who will be sworn in tonight as mayor. By most political pundits he was considered a long-shot at best.
Also new to politics — in fact professing during the campaign that they are “people, not politicians”, are five of the six new Langford council: Kimberley Guiry, Colby Harder, Mark Morley, Mary Wagner and Keith Yacucha.
All of those councillor politicians ran as the Langford Now slate, with Scott Goodmanson considered the long shot against the old guard which ran as the Community First Langford slate.
Lillian Szpak carries over:
The council defeated on election night had been led for 30 years (with few changes in faces) by now outgoing Mayor Stew Young, who held one of his last official appearances a few days ago to announce transition housing that has been long in the works in the west shore).
Now pulling up the rear is re-elected councillor Lillian Szpak, with 20 years experience on Langford council. She’s been effectively serving as ‘defacto mayor’, she told Island Social Trends last month, given her extensive experience on council over the years. She was clearly and admittedly the driving force behind the ultimate election result.
Working with staff:
“We’re working hard to make sure we’re starting on the right foot,” said Wagner in an interview with Island Social Trends last week.”It’s a team effort… to make sure things go the way we would like,” she added.
“Staff have been great and asking (us) questions,” said Wagner. Municipal staff essentially carry the load in that twilight between previous council and new council — particularly so in the case of Langford where the October 15 election produced a nearly clean sweep.
Office space at city hall has been assembled for the new councillors in recent weeks. The last council only had office space for the mayor.
Social media presence has been discussed (on platforms like Twitter where government and political are highly active), so that the City is seen on more than just the entertainment-oriented audience on Instagram.
Various in’s and out’s of how to be elected officials has been discussed in meetings and in sessions with consultants, including legal concerns, dealing with the public and with media, how to use their electronic devices, and how to use their own social media accounts.
“Balancing infrastructure, services and greenspace with development” is an overview of how the new Langford Council hopes to proceed, said Wagner. She refers back to the Fall 2022 campaign with reference to sustainable development, healthy safe communities, environment and greenspaces, and transparent government and public engagement.
The idea of ‘planned development’ came up a lot in the Langford Now campaign, including concerns about transportation and transparency.
The new elected team may find that a straight line is not so simple or even possible. Many factors including investor confidence (interfacing with the broader economy) and government policy (which takes time to develop and be enacted) can play havoc with the best laid plans.
Changes for the west shore:
Langford has inarguably spearheaded growth and development in the west shore region for decades.
This was, in part, an anticipated response to the Capital Regional District Regional Growth Strategy that long targeted Langford and Colwood for housing growth.
With the vision of Langford Mayor Stew Young the housing growth (and a commercial base to support it) was robust. Some of the pieces that were lagging or missing may be pulled into place now by the new, younger council.
What was missing for many years was a City of Langford communications strategy that would have better hammered out a systematic promotional and information campaign about how and why the city was growing. Events promotion and attracting business was not enough.
Changes in the wind for the west shore now will be more about building on what’s already there than starting anew. The incoming team capitalized politically on frustration and lack of information and engagement. Much of what was already in the works will likely continue, and this could politically backfire on the new team in the years ahead.
The official swearing-in of the new Langford mayor and council will take place in the Belmont Secondary School auditorium at 3041 Langford Lake Road (in the Westhills / Glen Lake area).
Doors open at 6:30 pm, with the inaugural City of Langford council meeting starting at 7 pm.
There is a large parking lot, but it could fill up fast.
The agenda and dial-in livestream info is posted on the City of Langford website. New mayor and council will shuffle into additional positions including:
- Capital Regional District Board, Capital Regional Hospital District Board and Capital Regional Housing
- Corporation Board
- Regional Water Supply Commission
- Juan de Fuca Water Distribution Commission
- Climate Action Inter-Municipal Task Force
- Victoria Family Court and Youth Justice Committee
- Greater Victoria Library Board
- West Shore Parks and Recreation
- West Shore Chamber of Commerce
- Inter Municipal Committee on Disability Issues
- Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends (formerly West Shore Voice News 2014-2020) covers the news of social, economic and political change in the west shore and south Vancouver Island as well as following socioeconomic trends across BC and Canada.
The portal at islandsocialtrends.ca has been active daily since mid-2020. Published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc out of Langford, BC.
Island Social Trends editor and publisher Mary P Brooke has been steering the ship of progressive journalism on the west shore since 2008 (MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010, Sooke Voice News 2011-2013, West Shore Voice News 2014-2020, Island Social Trends 2020 to present).
Langford saga: former mayor and ‘defacto’ mayor (October 29, 2022)
School planting project beautifies Langford city boulevard (October 26, 2022)
Langford news archive (2018 to 2022)