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‘I should have been out there’: ex-mayor Stew Young eyes comeback in Langford

Young said he thinks this current government is falling flat
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Stew Young has been sitting on the sideline for a year, but is getting fed up with how the new council is “ruining” the city. (News Staff/Thomas Eley)

Complacency is what ex-mayor Stew Young blames for not winning the 2022 municipal election in Langford.

He said he didn’t communicate enough with the people of Langford about the work being done, and subsequently lost the election.

“I should have been out there telling people all the things that I’ve been doing,” he said.

Young lost to Scott Goodmanson, and there was a seismic change in Langford.

When Young lost, he was happy to step away and let the current council find their footing, but he said that after a year of watching how things are going, he has decided to speak up about maybe throwing his hat in the ring again.

“They’ll need to start paying attention a bit more to the residents and their needs,” he said. “You are beholden to all these people.”

Young said council needs to do more about crime in the community.

“Business needs support now more than ever. The criminals are moving in,” Young said.

The increasing open use of drugs in Langford has become a big issue and is something that Young worked hard to try and keep out of the city during his time in office.

“They need to go somewhere. A treatment centre, but not just releasing them back into the streets to do criminal acts,” Young said.

His approach to governing Langford was to run it like a company, sheltering residents from big tax increases and encouraging businesses to move to Langford to try and grow the city.

He said tax hikes drive business away, and even though large corporations may be able to afford the bill, the people who will be affected the most are the small mom-and-pop businesses around Langford.

“It is a recession right now. This is not the time to be raising taxes.”

During his time in office, he made sure that the city would always try to do something to improve the lives of the people who lived here and would listen to the people in the community.

“We built a lot of recreation facilities for the residents. We always did something,” he said.

Young said he thinks this current government is falling flat and is building walls, making it harder for people to have their say.

“There’s nothing wrong with having dialogue with somebody that disagrees with you,” he said. “It’s about listening.”

He said that it can be easy to forget that you govern for everyone and not just the people who voted you in and that you can lose track of what is essential to the people of Langford.

Now that he is no longer in office, Young likes to spend his free time fishing but does not spend much time sitting around, he said. He also does charity work around Langford and enjoys talking to community members.

When he first decided to run, he thought he would be mayor briefly and have minimal time in local government.

“We were called the dogpatch. There were a lot of derogatory comments about Langford growing up here. I wanted to change that.”

READ MORE: Fears are unfounded’: Langford mayor reflects on a year in office