Monday November 7, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 10:45 November 8, 2022]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The sort of snowfall you’d expect at Christmastime was softly falling outdoors as the new Langford mayor and council were being sworn in.
In front of a nearly full house in the auditorium at Belmont Secondary School, Scott Goodmanson slid easily into the role of mayor and all the newly sworn-in councillors were ebullient. Each of the council-designate took their turn at the podium to recite their oaths as new members of City of Langford Council.
It was a nice touch at the start of the evening to hear the PACE school choir with a song about ‘season of love’, as was as the national anthem. Large floral arrangements adorned the stage.
Remarks by Alistair MacGregor, MP:
Local Member of Parliament Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) delivered some poignant remarks about the lingering feeling of awe about being sworn into office (he’s had three rounds of that as a thrice-elected MP).
MacGregor gave a hearty vote of support to the new council, proclaiming they will do their job well. He noted at the outset of his brief remarks that this group had taken hold of the winds of change. He noted that local politicians (compared to federal) have a direct impact on people’s day to day lives.
“When Langford thrives we all thrive,” Macgregor said to a round of applause.
Remarks by Mayor Scott Goodmanson:
New Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson has an easy way about him, injecting light humour as he goes along. He thanked the audience twice for showing up on a snowy night and said “we are all excited to see such a crowd here”.
Goodmanson sees the new council as “a new positive step forward for the City of Langford”. He noted that the “community as a whole is diverse” and is glad that his council is too. Goodmanson said that the diversity on council is “the best I could have asked for”.
He pontificated a bit about how change in and of itself is neither good nor bad. But he did note with “no doubt” that the climate is changing, and that the city needs to “adapt systems, procedures, and economy” as part of adjusting to changing climate conditions.
Goodmanson said that the role of the municipal council is “to serve the community as best we can”.
This new council will need to be “more courageous, adventurous, inclusive and sustainable than ever before,” said Goodmanson. This will “force us to be more collaborative”.
Goodmanson said that if not for Stew Young as the previous mayor (for 30 years) that there wouldn’t be the base for this new council to work from and build upon. Goodmanson said Young “deserved to be recognized” for laying the groundwork.
Goodmanson told Island Social Trends that he has wrapped up his day job in order to be a full-time mayor. A new office has been set up for him at city hall, as was as for the councillors — so they can be available to engage with staff and meet the public.
Various external appointments:
The first order of business this evening — at this council’s inaugural meeting — was administrative stuff like appointing acting mayors (each for eight months on a pre-determined schedule over the next four years), and various council members to boards and committees.
Goodmanson will represent Langford on the Capital Regional District Board, the Capital Regional Hospital District Board, and the Capital Regional Housing Corporation Board, as will Councillor Lillian Szpak as Langford’s second rep to those three CRD boards.
Councillors Guiry, Harder, and Wagner will fill most of the other CRD positions, in a mix of appointments to the Regional Water Supply Commission, Juan de Fuca Water Distribution Commission, and Climate Action Inter-Municipal Task Force.
A lesser external load was taken on by Keith Yacucha and Mark Morley. They will serve as alternates, and also on the internal Parcel Tax Roll Review Panel. Yacucha told Island Social Trends that he wants to focus on internal operations, sticking close to home so to speak.
However, Yacucha will be the Langford rep to Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications (CREST), with Morley as the alternate. That’s an important committee as the climate changes and the community grows larger and more complex. CREST links 50 emergency service agencies across south Vancouver Island.
West Shore Parks and Recreation will see Guiry as Langford’s rep, with Szpak as alternate.
The non-voting position on the West Shore Chamber of Commerce board will be filled by Mary Wagner.
The Greater Victoria Library Board appointment was given to Lillian Szpak (replacing retired SD62 school trustee Dianna Seaton who is no longer an elected official), with Wagner as alternate.
The Victoria Family Court and Youth Justice Committee will see Guiry as Langford’s rep.
Official vote count:
The official results of the municipal election in for the City of Langford were read out, noting that 8,437 ballots were cast (up from 4,806 in 2018). Watmough reported that as a 22% turnout, up 4% “with the population increase”.
Watmough said that staff would report any recommendations for changes in the voting procedures or process ahead of the next election (which comes up four years from now).
Among the councillors, the most votes were achieved by Colby Harder, followed by Mary Wagner, Keith Yacucha, Kimberley Guiry, Mark Morley and Lillian Szpak.
While vote counts eventually subside from memory in the general population as the years roll by, internally there is a sort of pecking order set up by who got the most votes… in terms of who had the most ‘ears’ listening to their messages during the campaign.
Who was there:
Tonight’s crowd included some long-time Langford residents and community leaders including Langford Legion President Norm Scott, former West Shore Chamber of Commerce president Mike Reilly, Royal Roads Director of Business Development Dale Gann, and Hans Frederickson and others from Premier John Horgan’s constituency or Premier’s office.
Senior city staffers on hand for the evening were CAO Darren Kiedyk, Corporate Officer Braden Hutchins, and Deputy Director of Corporate Services Marie Watmough who handled the formal part of the meeting.
Also attending were City of Langford Director of Finance Mike Dillabaugh, Manager of Business Development and Events Donna Petrie, Executive Assistant to the Mayor Julie Coneybeer, Director of City Planning Matthew Baldwin, and Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey.
Langford Legion Norm Scott was in attendance in the audience.
YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island CEO Derek Gent also attended.
Most people remained in the school lobby afterward for conversation and refreshments. The crowd included residents as well as representatives of various organizations and leaders in the community.
It would be fair to say that a clean-sweep new council has set the bar of expectation high from the public. If they’re coming in for a such a massive fresh start the community will expect to see some meaningful change.
There was good will and positive energy in the room tonight. So hopefully things are off to a good start.
The meeting was livestreamed, and the recording is likely to be posted online by tomorrow on the city website at langford.ca .
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends (formerly West Shore Voice News) has been covering news of the west shore since 2014 and more broadly south Vancouver Island since 2008.
Previously a print newspaper, Island Social Trends has been fully online at islandsocialtrends.ca since mid-2020.
Editor and publisher is Mary P Brooke.