Slower development promised for Langford with new mayor and council

Slower development promised for Langford with new mayor and council
WatchLangford's new mayor and council say they aren't against development, just that they want it to be more sustainable than it has been. Kori Sidaway has more.

This municipal election revealed plenty of changes and a few shocking upsets.

Perhaps none bigger than in Langford.

Mayor Stew Young with three decades of service, the only elected mayor Langford has ever known, has been ousted.

“People told us they just wanted a bit of check on just the unchecked growth. Because that’s what’s happened over the past 30 years is complete unchecked growth,” Scott Goodmanson, Langford mayor-elect.

Adding to Langford’s unprecedented turnover, only one incumbent councillor will return to city hall, and the full slate of five ‘Langford Now’ councillors promise to form a much different majority than the past 30 years.

“Where is the strategic plan? Where is the parks management plan? Where is the transportation plan? We didn’t see any of these things,” said Mary Wagner, Langford councillor-elect and Langford Now slate member.

While the new council promises to be more cautious with growth, outgoing mayor Stew Young says this new mayor and council will slam the brakes on development.

“They want to stop businesses from coming here. They want to stop development in Langford,” said outgoing mayor Stew Young to CHEK News on Oct. 4.

The mayor-elect says that’s not the case.

“None of us want to stop development, I can promise you that,” said Goodmanson. “We’re developing at 182 per cent of Langford’s needs. So we’re not just building already for what’s needed in Langford. It’s almost double. So we’re just bringing in extra people to make the roads busier, and to make the services more stretched, and that’s not responsible development.”

Goodmanson’s allies in the Langford Now slate echo similar sentiments, that sustainable development with community engagement will be the focus.

“We’re not anti-development. We want to see sustainable development. We want to see well-planned development. We want to balance infrastructure, services, and green space,” said Wagner. “When you have community engagement, it’s not the fastest way to move forward, but it’s the best way.”

The change, after 30 years of fast-tracked building in Langford is disconcerting for developers.

“To go from a fairly consistent mayor and council for such a long period of time. And then see a significant transition like this. It’s the first time this has been seen for such a long period of time. So people of course are not used to this,” said Julie Lawlor, the executive director of WestShore Chamber of Commerce.

“Continuity is really useful for business and if there is change, they’re going to be looking for how it’ll be different. What impact does this have on anything in the works? So it’ll be interesting to see how quickly this mayor and council can hit the ground running.”

The new mayor-elect and council are promising to revisit the city’s strategic plan and possibly a housing needs report before any other projects are approved.

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Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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