British Columbia

Langford Mayor Stew Young seeks 9th term in office

Stew Young has been mayor of Langford since 1992 and has been acclaimed four of his eight mayoral terms. He's being challenged this time by longtime Langford resident Robert Fraser.

Opponent Robert Fraser says Young, who has been mayor since 1992, is too inaccessible to residents

Longtime mayor Stew Young is being challenged in this election by Robert Fraser, a software developer. (City of Langford & Robert Fraser)

In nearly 26 years, Langford has gone from being an unincorporated community to one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, with a population of more than 35,000 people.

Stew Young, who was elected to that first city council in 1992, has been mayor for almost that entire time.

He's championed growth, including the first big-box stores in the 1990s, the Bear Mountain development and major road infrastructure.

He's also had no visible campaign presence. In the last election, he said he spent a total of $6.04 on the campaign. 

Langford has also had low voter turnout compared to the rest of B.C. — between 13 and 23 per cent — in the last three elections.

This time around, Young is being challenged by longtime Langford resident Robert Fraser, who's a software developer.

Robert Fraser is a self-described neighbourhood guy who says he helps his neighbours negotiate their way through the bureaucracy at city hall.

He thinks Stew Young is too inaccessible to residents and his refusal to keep office hours at city hall is a symptom of that.

Listen to the two mayoral candidates square off: 

Young: 'I'm talking to people'

Young, who is now seeking his ninth term in office, cites his two-plus decades of experience at city hall, plus his family's longstanding connection to the area. 

"Every single day, I'm in my community, talking to people, talking to businesses and seeing what their needs are," he said on CBC's On The Island

Young is critical of the province's proposed speculation tax, which will levy a tax on secondary homes left vacant.

"We don't have speculators in Langford," he said. "We have hardworking families that actually are working hard in our communities and in the trades. They need to buy houses."

Fraser: 'There's some issues at city hall'

Fraser has lived in Langford for 49 years and is running on a platform that emphasises pedestrian safety, especially for persons with disabilities.

He says he tried to bring attention to the issue at city hall in the past year but couldn't make progress.

"Other people who I've talked to have had the same experience," he said. "I think there's some issues at city hall that need to be corrected."

Fraser also wants to improve public transportation.

He favours buses over trains and light-rail transit and wants to implement more high-speed bus lanes to ease traffic congestion between Victoria and the suburbs along the Westshore.

Fraser's full platform is available online.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

With files from CBC's On The Island


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