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The ‘bigger picture’: Langford adopting Horokhiv, Ukraine as a sister city

The motion would include funding of $7,500
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Horokhiv and Langford will become sister cities after the city council votes in favour of the motion. (File photo/Black Press Media)

Langford and Horokhiv in Ukraine will become sister cities after the city council approved a motion to formalize the relationship on Nov. 7.

The motion would include funding of $7,500 that the mayor of Horokhiv would use to purchase resources for students participating in science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs.

A sister city relationship can be similar to that of a pen pal, said Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson.

“It can be as involved or relaxed as you want. I tell people to think of it like any of your interpersonal relationships. Some people you talk to every day and some new talk to you once a year,” he said.

Area residents Bruce Brown and Bob Beckett initially set up the move to formalize these relations between Langford and Horokhiv.

“Langford has a history of seeing the bigger picture with global events,” said Brown. “The community has been unbelievable in supporting these projects with large donations.”

There had been some debate in the chamber among members of the public about whether or not this was a political ploy, which Brown dismissed.

“You will never see my name on an election poster. I am not running for anything,” he said.

The motion was approved by almost all council members, with council member Keith Yacucha being the dissenting vote.

“I look at our community and how many great community groups we had to turn down funding for grant and aid requests, and there was money that was going to be spent here in our communities,” said Yacucha.

He said he did not want to diminish the work done by Beckett and Brown, but did not support the city becoming involved with foreign affairs.

Coun. Mary Wagner said while she agreed with what Yacucha had been saying, she would support the motion to send money and formalize the sister-city relationship.

“This is not just a normal sending of charity money. It does feel like a special case. This is an unusual situation where Mr. Beckett, Mr. Brown and other people in the community have been working at this for years.”

Wagner said that it makes sense to support supplying Beckett and Brown with the funds that they have asked for as it strengthens the bond between Langford and Horokhiv.

Coun. Kimberley Guiry hoped the relationship between Langford and Horokhiv would be a lasting one.

“It is a very complex world right now and the disparity that we see in our fellow human beings around the world makes it hard to sit without privilege here and not be compelled to do something,” she said.

She said that hopefully the agreement between the two cities would stretch long into the future and the benefits of this new arrangement would continue to benefit everyone in Langford.

The funding will not be able to help everyone, said Goodmanson, but it will benefit students that Beckett and Brown are trying to assist.

“Think globally, act locally. There are any number of countries closer that could send help. But just because we’re at a distance doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our part in the conflict.”

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