The new council for the City of Langley will continue to aggressively pursue economic development opportunities, while at the same time focusing its attention on infrastructure development, quality of life, downtown revitalization, communication with residents, transportation, enhancement and preservation of the environment and safety and security.
That was the pledge made by Ted Schaffer in his first remarks as the City’s new mayor.
New and returning members of the City of Langley’s 38th council were sworn in on Monday afternoon by Judge Rob Hamilton.
Piped into the standing room-only chamber, along with a small honour guard of RCMP and Langley City firefighters, councillors Paul Albrecht, Jack Arnold, Rudy Storteboom, Gayle Martin, Val van den Broek and Dave Hall, along with Mayor Schaffer were then welcomed and honoured in song by members of the Kwantlen First Nation.
Following the official portion of the ceremony, Schaffer spoke at length, indicating that public safety is a top priority for the new council.
The ongoing problem of homelessness in the City will also be addressed, he said, noting a task force is being formed and is expected to come before council in 2015.
“The ultimate challenge facing the community is the management of expectations,” said Schaffer.
Balancing taxation and services, “thoughtful prioritization” in spending tax dollars and finding ways to offset taxation are among the main challenges the council has before it, Schaffer said as he gave a nod to both the chamber of commerce and the Downtown Langley Business Association for creating an “open for business culture” in the City.
Each council member also took a few minutes to thank friends, family, City staff and the voting public.
Hall, who is returning for his third term, recounted a conversation he had while door knocking during the campaign.
Asked by the householder whether Hall knew upon whose door he’d knocked, Hall replied that he did.
Asked whether he still wanted to talk to the resident — a former member of City Council —about his campaign, Hall once again replied in the affirmative.
The man told Hall that in his own time on council, he felt he’d made good decisions and left the City in fairly good shape.
His only request to Hall was that the councillor continue to make good decisions and “shut your yap.”
Councillor Jack Arnold told the gathering that in his 24 years on City council the one thing that has always been true is that council members “might sit and go at it hot and heavy” at the council table, but afterward, they can go out together for a friendly cup of coffee.
The final order of business of the new council’s first meeting was the appointment of committee members.
Longtime Metro Vancouver representative Martin will now serve as council’s voice on the Fraser Valley Regional Library Board, while Storteboom will take over Metro duties, with Martin serving as his alternate.
New councillor Albrecht will be Martin’s alternate on the library board.
As they have in the past, all six council members will take turns serving for two months each as deputy mayor over the next year.