UPDATED: Langley Township council sees shakeup

 

Three new faces gained spots on the Langley Township council, and three incumbent councillors were defeated.

Petrina Arnason, active in campaigns against land sales in Glen Valley and on other environmental issues, TWU professor Blair Whitmarsh, and former Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce president and business owner Angie Quaale all won seats.

Ousted were Steve Ferguson, Bev Dornan, and Grant Ward, all of whom had served multiple terms before this election.

Incumbents David Davis, Kim Richter, Charlie Fox, Michelle Sparrow, and Bob Long all kept their seats.

“They were ready for change, that’s very clear,” Quaale said of the Langley Township electorate.

She said she’s looking forward to working with Froese and the new council.

Even after winning, Whitmarsh called the results “surprising,” with three incumbents toppled.

“The voters wanted some change on council, and they got it,” he said.

He expects the new council may be a bit cautious about moving forward on development, and will be looking for more community involvement on the Brookswood OCP.

“I think it’s going to be a very interesting council,” Whitmarsh said.

Arnason said it’s early days, but is hoping the new council will seek some balance.

“We’re a large and diverse community, and there are so many needs to be addressed,” she said.

The daughter of the late long-serving councillor Muriel Arnason, Petrina Arnason said she can’t ride on her mother’s laurels.

“I do want to build on that legacy,” she said.

A veteran of municipal politics, Fox is looking forward to getting back to work at the council table.

“I’m really excited about going back, and working with Mayor Jack Froese,” Fox said. “His sound leadership will prevail over the next four years. We’ve got some work to do in the Willoughby area, in the development piece of 208th Street, getting that cleared up, getting some of the other infrastructure projects done.”

Fox added that the Township has “got to move ahead” with the pool and the recreation centre in Aldergrove.

“So I’m really excited about getting some of these major projects that have been on the table a while off the ground, and the shovels in the ground, and getting going with this.”

Several of the defeated candidates were surprised at the results.

“It’s not what I expected,” said Jackie Mandzak, a Brookswood resident who decided to run after becoming involved in the efforts to stop the unpopular Brookswood-Fernridge Official Community Plan.

She thought that Clint Lee and Kerri Ross of the two-person Live Langley slate would do better, and she was also surprised that the Brookswood vote didn’t have a bigger impact.

She expects that there will still be strong community activism in Brookswood, if the OCP is revisited.

“I think you can expect to have the same kind of turnout and the same kind of pushback if it’s not done with more community input,” she said.

Kevin Mitchell said the council will not lead to real change in Langley.

“In fact, I think what it does is it solidifies the majority’s position,” Mitchell said.

He said the candidates who won had done so because they had very well financed campaigns.

The results would be “another four years of the same old, same old,” Mitchell said.

Zosia Ettenberg, who was taking her first run at campaigning, said she would have liked a better showing.

She said she hopes that the changes to council and the turnout are enough to make a change in the coming years.

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