New leadership in Langford could make big changes at a regional level
New mayor comes with new perspective about regional governance
Scott Goodmanson’s ouster of Stew Young as Langford’s mayor last year began a new chapter for the city and Coun. Lillian Szpak expects to see a shift at the Capital Regional District (CRD) as well.
Szpak is serving as one of Langford’s CRD directors, along with Goodmanson. While the mayors of most CRD municipalities serve on the board of directors, this is new for Langford, where Young used to have another member of council fill the role.
“It's no secret that the previous mayor of Langford was not a regionalist,” Szpak told Capital Daily, adding that the former mayor “could be fairly contemptuous” of the regional government. By contrast, Goodmanson has jumped in with both feet, serving on six committees in addition to the board of directors, including the transportation committee.
“I think there is a feeling of optimism and renewal around the table because we do have new members there but also because Langford has experienced change and a great deal of hope around that change,” Szpak said.
Regionally-minded leadership in Langford—one of only three CRD municipalities with more than one director on the board—could reenergize efforts to expand regional services like transportation. The city rejected the idea of a regional transport service when the CRD considered it in 2016. At that time, Szpak was the only council member who voted in favour and still supports the idea.
“I believe when it comes to transportation, you need to speak with one voice to senior government—that's how you leverage money and services and facilities,” she said.
She believes setting up a regional authority to coordinate transportation options across the CRD would be a boon for Langford because so many residents commute to other parts of the region for work.
“It needs to be connected to the other communities in a way where you're not sitting in a crawl on your way to work and home every single day,” she said.
Szpak said she has made her support for regional transit known to CRD board chair Colin Plant, who himself has high hopes for big changes to transportation in the region over the coming four years.