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Growing up in Edmonton in the late 90s I saw the explosion of development in south Edmonton. I saw how through the creation of community associations and proper planning. This development balanced the needs of both current and future residents of the area.
From high school, I launched into my post-secondary education in Economics. To help pay for my studies I joined the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve.
During one summer break, I made the trek westward to BC to become a tree-planter and later in that summer, a wild-land firefighter. During this time I met my, now, wife and also fell in love with the province. After spending a period of time hitchhiking around the province. Working a variety of jobs from barista to lift-host at Sun Peaks, we settled down for a time in the Okanagan.
It was here that I began to re-focus on my studies, finishing my degree in Economics. While balancing the demands of my now-growing family, working full-time as a banking officer and continuing to work and train with the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve.
Upon graduation, and with two kids now in tow, I decided to pursue graduate school while my wife began her own career in paramedicine. This decision brought us to the island, where we settled down, continuing to rent in Saanich near Uvic. Upon graduation with my master's degree in Economics, I transitioned from student to teacher, taking an instructional role with Camosun College.
Since settling on the island, I have become engaged in volunteering and helping out where I can with my kid's sports. From assistant coach in hockey when they were young, to the hockey team manager and the treasurer for the Saanich lacrosse association as they grew.
After close to a decade of dealing with the precarious nature of renting. The constant uncertainty of rent increases or renovictions. All the while watching in horror as house prices continued to rise faster than our savings. With a stroke of luck, we were able to secure our first home, bringing us out to Langford.
Having watched Langford grow from Saanich for years. we were excited to make the move - this seemed to be a place where things actually happen. It was within months of making the move that the disillusionment set in.
With the majority of Langford residents being transplants, we expected to move into an active community setting. Instead, we realized that while there have been many homes built. There has not been a focus on creating space for community. Resulting in a lack of space to meet and connect with neighbours and thus isolation. Continued development seems to continue this trend of building homes, not communities. As we rapidly outpace investment in public infrastructure such as parks, schools and transportation.
While things do happen in Langford. We realized that this action took place with little if any public consultation. Often, it seemed, behind closed doors. As an Economist with an interest in public policy, I tried to become engaged. To find studies or staff reports that outlined the rationale or cost-benefit analysis of the developments and decisions being undertaken. Despite my efforts, it seemed that either these reports did not exist, or the taxpayer was not privy to such information. I was horrified at the lack of transparency and accountability within our local government.
Since moving to Langford, I have noticed the need to drive to other municipalities to access public services that I was used to being within walking distance. From Dog parks to playgrounds to rec centres. Despite being a growing community with many young families, all these public amenities seemed too few and far between.
Like many, we have decided to settle and raise our family in Langford. Despite the current issues and concerns addressed, I see how Langford can become an amazing city that we can be proud to call home. It is in this light that I have decided to run for City Council. To address concerns around transparency, fiscal management, public engagement, responsible development, and to ensure adequate recreation, park and green space for all.
We can build a Langford we can be proud of.
This October 15th, change is possible.