Keith Yacucha's council goals for 2023 in Langford
The first-time politician wants to rejig committee structures, and set strategic priorities
Langford Coun. Keith Yacucha at the new council's swearing in ceremony. (📸 Shannon Waters)
This time last year, Keith Yacucha was watching Langford council as a concerned resident—now it’s his job. The first-time politician has a keen eye for finances as an economics professor, something that should serve him well as he helps run a multi-million-dollar city.
The new council is still getting their feet—though they did not hesitate to implement a heavy handed temporary tree bylaw, in an effort to stop people from taking out trees before they could develop a detailed tree management policy. It was a decisive departure from the previous council, but it wasn’t handled the way they would have liked—that is, it was done on a rushed schedule with shallow consultation.
Committees had been the previous council’s primary method of community consultation. In election debates, several outgoing council members answered questions about consultation by saying the committees were the best way to get involved. Yet in the last few years, committee meetings had dwindled to a couple of meetings a year, which were sometimes cancelled because there was nothing on the agenda.
The administration and finance committee met five times in the last three years, protective services only met twice a year, parks and recreation had nine meetings, and the transportation and public works group had eight. (The notable exception was the planning, zoning, & affordable housing committee, which met as often as council, usually twice a month.)
Shortly after the election the new council dissolved the committee a couple of months before they were set to expire. Rejigging the whole committee set up will be an early priority this year, Yacucha said, including assessing what work those committees were actually doing—or not. He wants to have an economic development committee. planning and zoning, and probably a steering committee attached to our strategic plan.
Council’s strategic plan is the first thing on Yacucha’s list for the new year, though. To him, it’s the first step in bringing election promises to life: letting Langford voters steer the city’s direction.
The strategic plan will help council and staff decide what out of all their hopes and dreams for the year, they will prioritize with time and money. Yacucha expects things like active transportation, parks, environmental protection, and budgeting to be included in the plan.