Langford’s 30th year since incorporation marked a stark change.
For a city that’s changed so much, one thing remained fairly constant – its council. But that changed on Oct. 15, when a slate of new faces was elected, including political newcomer Scott Goodmanson taking over the mayor’s seat.
Now Langford is set for a new direction, with a new vision for the next 30 years.
“It’s not for me to dictate that. We really need to take our lead from what the public wants,” Goodmanson said.
His vision includes shorter residential towers, a return of rail service, and getting more community groups involved civically.
Growing up in the Langford Lake area, Goodmanson acknowledged much has changed but said the portion of Goldstream Avenue stretching from his parent’s house to Ruth King Elementary has hardly changed at all.
Despite being the youngest councillor – younger than incorporated Langford – Colby Harder remembers a great deal of Langford’s change. Growing up in Goldstream Meadows and then later in the Glen Lake area, she would bike between her parents’ and grandparents’ homes using forest trails that are now gone, replaced by developments like Westhills.
“Some of the same streets that I was playing on as a kid, except we’re seeing a lot less kids playing on those streets because they’ve been replaced by cars.”
Harder wants more community-oriented spaces to promote a sense of belonging and working more with other municipalities to plan how to manage growth in the future.
“One of the things that we as a community should really look at is how we’re moving around. How we move is really, I think, an indication of how we’re going to feel. So if we’re stuck in traffic all the time, it’s going to be very stressful.”
Coun. Mary Wagner used to bike to Devonshire Flowers for penny sweets. She remembers Langford being called the boonies or Dogpatch. “But we never thought that … We were in the outskirts because Victoria was the city and we were enjoying our forest and I wasn’t really travelling so I would just walk or ride my bike happily.”
Similar to Harder, Wagner wants more community spaces, green spaces and European-style development with mid-sized residential buildings and the goal of making streets walkable. She pointed to Avi Friedman’s plan for Langford’s development – one touted by the previous council.
Goodmanson added, “if you look at your workstation, where you are now and what you’ve done today, how you got to work, what you ate, where you got your food from, whatever devices you’re using, and then you go back to 1992 to ‘93. How many of them existed? So, it feels like a trope but there is honest truth to the notion of trying to find solutions for problems we don’t know exist yet. So that’s what I’m hoping that we – and successive councils – are working towards.”