It’s been 30 years since Langford was officially incorporated on Dec. 8, 1992.
Stew Young, who was on Langford’s first council in 1992 before serving as mayor from December 1993 until this past October, said incorporation was the best thing that ever happened to Langford.
“There was no real vision for Langford before incorporation,” Young said. “There were no jobs. Everybody left when they raised their kids. I was pushing for incorporation.”
Young said a major benefit of incorporation was more representation for residents.
“There weren’t any committees before, and then we had committees for parks and recreation, finance, and public works. The committee structure helps with transparency. We went from one regional director to seven elected officials.”
Denise Blackwell, who was also on that first council and held her seat until this past October, added “people were very concerned at that time … It was pretty rural back then. We didn’t have a lot of sidewalks and hardly any streetlights. Development in Langford at that time was pretty haphazard because we didn’t have a way to coordinate the transportation issues like building the roads and things like that. That was one of the things that made it a really good idea to incorporate.”
Langford’s first council, elected on Nov. 21, 1992, included Young and Blackwell, along with Gordon Maxwell, Winnie Sifert, Terry Young and John Crook. Jim London was elected as Langford’s first mayor.
“A lot of the changes came about by council deciding that we wanted to put sidewalks here and there,” Blackwell explained. “We wanted to beautify downtown Langford and we put in a lot of trees. It was just this wide highway before. It’s beautiful now.”
Blackwell and Young said decisions were made a lot quicker once Langford was incorporated.
“It’s now Langford council making the choices,” Blackwell said. “Before incorporation, we had to go back to the Capital Regional District and have the whole board vote on it. The board could have also turned down things that Langford wanted to do.”
“The decision-making process was much better once we were a city,” Young added. “Langford being under a regional district wasn’t good for businesses and it wasn’t good for people. There was no real economic engine. Dragging decisions out costs people money.”
Young and Blackwell don’t believe there were any negative sides to incorporation.
“I don’t see any downsides at all,” Young said. “It gives you more flexibility. It’s a very efficient system.”
“We were happy to incorporate,” Blackwell added. “I think it was a really good idea. We got to make the decisions. That’s how we got control over what we wanted in our own municipality. The sportsplex and Eagle Ridge Community Centre came in because Langford was on its own and we could decide to spend extra money there.”
Young added incorporation helped make the community a very desirable place to live.
“People can actually work and stay in Langford. We’re in such great shape now financially. We have jobs. Incorporation has worked out really well.”
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