EDITORIAL: Change really is in the air

Some election time curiosities around the West Shore

There was a definite choice by voters in Langford to retain the people who have helped build the city into what it is today.

Nonetheless, some interesting points emerged from last Saturday’s municipal election. We believe with more candidates running, including the five-member Time for a Change slate, more residents were paying attention to the issues and thinking about what they saw for the municipality’s future.

The 19 per cent voter turnout, up from 14 per cent in 2011, is still poor and lowest among the five West Shore municipalities, but the improvement must be noted.

Does David Shebib really have a pocket of support for his ideals and philosophies nestled deep in the heart of the West Shore? The Saanich resident and operator of the Free Store received 556 votes in Langford alone, more than any of the 13 Capital Region municipalities in which he was running, including Saanich, where he drew 482.

Then there’s the non-binding referendum. Langford’s no-beat-around-the-bush question, “Are you in favour of the City of Langford being amalgamated into a larger regional municipality?” went ‘yes,’ by the slim margin of 2,222 to 2,209.

If people were truly happy with the way things are, many more would have said ‘no’ to joining up with other municipalities to form a bigger one. Interestingly, of those who voted, nearly 98 per cent of them ticked off the referendum box on the ballot.

So change really is coming to Langford, it just might take a while.

Change is coming a lot sooner down the road in View Royal and Highlands, where new mayors David Screech and Ken Williams, respectively, prepare to lead their councils and municipalities through the next four years.

Ten new councillors, one of whom has council experience, are sprinkled throughout the rest of the West Shore, a fact that could lead to subtle changes in the way things are done.

In Saanich and Victoria, Richard Atwell and one-term councillor Lisa Helps upset the established guard, Frank Leonard and Dean Fortin respectively, in the race for mayor of the region’s two largest municipalities. Their leadership may well affect the relationships their jurisdictions have with those on the West Shore.

As someone once said, change is constant. It just takes a different form wherever one happens to be standing. That fact is evident moving around the West Shore, but it’s part of what makes living and working here so interesting and diverse.