Thirty-three years ago, I met Stew Young, John Ranns, and Denise Blackwell. At the time the western communities were governed by a single CRD director. There was no city council, minimal community-based planning and few opportunities for public engagement. The result – a ramshackle set of communities that were crying out for local governance.
The province responded by incorporating the region and opening the door for local municipal decision-making.
My job as MLA for the area was to ensure that each municipality had the resources to fulfill its vision. In those early days, Stew, John and Denise stepped up to the plate and through the force of their own personalities sculpted communities that reflected public will at that time.
John was a passionate advocate for preserving the rural attributes of Metchosin. Stew’s focus was on job creation, affordable housing and world-class recreation facilities. Denise, as CRD director, worked diligently/tirelessly on enhancing health and seniors services throughout the region.
In the ebb and flow of politics, people come and go – councils change – public sentiments evolve. But politics and service to the community should not be perceived as a thankless task. These three individuals dedicated countless hours for the betterment of their communities and in their own way have left a legacy that has notably improved the quality of life in Langford and Metchosin.
A new generation of councils will soon assume the levers of decision-making. I wish them well. However, we would be remiss not to thank Stew, John and Denise for their extraordinary leadership and wish them well in their future endavours.
MLA Esquimalt-Metchosin 1986-2001