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No head-to-head mayoral battle in works for longest-standing Langford council members

Denise Blackwell says she’ll run only if Mayor Stew Young decides not to seek re-election
Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell won’t run for mayor if incumbent Stew Young runs in the upcoming municipal election in October. (Photo contributed)

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell said she will only run for mayor if Stew Young doesn’t make a bid for re-election.

Blackwell has served on council with Young since Langford was incorporated in 1992 and plans to stick to her longtime commitment to never run against him, despite this term of council being tenser than in previous years, she said.

“It’s a funny thing, because I’ve been chair of planning and zoning for many years,” she said. “If you look around the (recent) development, most of this has been ushered through under my tenure. Really, the only thing that we’ve disagreed about is recently are these towers.”

While development has been a hot button issue in Langford for years as the city has grown, it has amped up recently with rezoning bylaws for residential towers as tall as 24 storeys nearing approval.

Several tense exchanges during the past few council meetings prompted Coun. Lillian Szpak to propose a code of conduct for city council, something Blackwell thinks is needed.

READ MORE: ‘We’re not elected to squabble’: Langford councillor to pitch code of conduct

Other recent moves, such as updating the construction noise bylaw, will hopefully alleviate some of the concerns residents have about development in the city, she added.

“What we’ve done over the past 30 years is amazing,” Blackwell said. “That’s what most people say, and that’s why they come here. So I think in the end, we’re doing the right thing.”

“We can disagree on the odd thing, and still we should still be able to get along,” she added.

Young, first elected mayor in 1993, said in a previous interview he plans to wait until the summer to make his decision on running for re-election.

Langford’s seven councillors have a combined 163 years of experience on council between them. Three were elected before the new millennium – Young, Blackwell and Coun. Lanny Seaton, first elected in 1996. Szpak was elected in 2002, the same year as Coun. Matt Sahlstrom. Coun. Roger Wade was elected in 2008, while Coun. Norma Stewart is in her first term on council.

READ MORE: Langford Coun. Lillian Szpak rules out mayoral run in 2022


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