I am tired of hearing all the disparaging comments about Mayor Stewart Young’s “vision” for Langford.
It is important to remember what Langford was like before Stew became mayor. It was called “Dogpatch” and was considered a joke by others outside its borders. No more!
Stew’s goal was to have good jobs in Langford for the people who lived in Langford. This was accomplished by encouraging business, industry and government services to locate in Langford. Langford council, under Stew’s astute leadership, instituted a program where they set the regulations and guidelines, and if you followed them the process was quick and efficient without a lot of red tape and bureaucracy.
Because of this philosophy, we quickly had Costco, Home Depot, Lowes, Sleggs, Walmart, Super Store and dozens of other businesses that provide thousands of jobs. A significant portion of the people who live in Langford work in Langford. You now do not have to drive to downtown Victoria to shop. As a matter of fact, a large number of people in the CRD come to Langford to shop and support our local businesses and their employees.
The second major item on Stew’s agenda was recreation, especially for our youth. When I grew up in Langford, we only had Centennial Park as our softball field. We now have several first-class playing fields as well as the Jordie Lunn memorial bike park, the YMCA and gym, lots of hiking and walking trails, many neighborhood parks, all paid for by those “evil” developers. Langford is home to more parkland than any municipality in the CRD.
Stew is also working on arts and entertainment, with the Victoria Conservatory of Music having a location in Langford. Stew, through the Westshore Developers Association, has been responsible for attracting such renowned Broadway shows as Chicago, Jersey Boys and Carol King to the Royal Theatre. Knowing Stew, there will be other cultural things happening in the near future.
Stew has also been a master a getting all these amenities paid for by the developers. This allows Langford to have one of lowest property taxes in the region while still paying for expanding police and fire personnel. Langford also has a large percentage of residents who own their own homes. As well, we have hundreds of units of affordable housing.
This has been Mayor Young’s vision and I am very proud to say that I live in Langford.