2022 Inaugural Council Meeting Review

November 7, 2022 kicked off the start of terms for new municipal governments across the province. In the Township of Langley, our inaugural meeting was introduced by Township Clerk Wendy Bauer, the singing of the national, the swearing in of the oath of office, and a welcome from the Kwantlen First Nation leadership.

As expected, there were no fireworks or controversy at the first council meeting of the term. Although Councillor Kim Richter did ask what the logic was behind Mayor Eric Woodward breaking from past practice on the rotation of the Acting Mayor (1:00:20). As Richter pointed out, it has been standard practice to have two 3 month rotations, but Woodward has opted for one 6 month rotation (per schedule below).

Woodward explained it was just a casual change for its own sake, that it falls within council procedure bylaws and that it was requested to fall in order of the seating arrangement (assuming there aren’t any changes to this arrangement throughout the term). Speaking of the seating arrangement, it does seem to fall in line with past practice of having newer councillors seating closer to the Mayor with incumbents on the fringes – if that means anything at all. Woodward welcomed an amendment if council did not care for the change to the Acting Mayor schedule, but Richter declined, suggesting she just wondered about the logic.

Since no real business was taking place at the inaugural meeting, I’ll transcribe some of the best and most representative quotes from each Council members’ inaugural comments in regard to their thoughts on the upcoming term (most council members provided thank you’s, personal anecdotes and acknowledgements of past council and/or other candidates, which I have not quoted below):


Councillor Margaret Kunst

(1:02:00-1:06:00)

“The best part of this job is meeting with constituents to try to solve problems, representing council on a variety of committees, meeting with our seniors and hearing about the issues that matter to them. As well as attending the long list of community events.”

“The past term I’ve also appreciated getting to know members of our Kwantlen First Nation – Kwantlen, Katzie, Matsqui and Semiahmoo First Nations – thank you for your friendship to me personally and to us as a community. And in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation I look forward to strengthening that relationship and continuing to work together on issues that matter to you.”

“As I go forward in this position of leadership, I will once again use a favourite quote from a politician named Carly Fiorini as it captures how I think leadership is defined… ‘Leadership isn’t defined by a person’s title or position. True leadership is defined by character, the ability to see possibility in the people around you. Leadership is impossible without humility and empathy because without them you cannot collaborate with other people who are different from you. If you can’t collaborate, you can’t solve problems'”

“You elected us to make difficult decisions, to put our egos aside, and with an open mind work together to make the best decisions for our community, now and for the future.”


Councillor Kim Richter

(1:02:03-1:08:35)

“We are currently in very uncertain times, both globally and locally. We face three major crisis: the cost of living crisis, the climate crisis, and a governance crisis. These are the three lens through which I will view and address every issue that comes before this Council in the next four years.”

“Going forward, there is one thing I absolutely will not compromise on and that is integrity. If something does not seem right, I will not vote for it and I will tell you why I’m not voting for it. All people deserve integrity, they deserve to be listened to and to be heard, they deserve action and they deserve a community they want and are proud to live in.”

“As recently noted on a popular TV show, there is no power but what the people allow you to have and their interests must always come first. Historian John Meacham says democracy is the mediation of differences. I agree.”


Councillor Tim Baillie

(1:08:41-1:14:10)

“During this campaign I clearly spelled out within the Contract with Langley team what my focuses are and my experiences that I bring to this table. One of them is to modernize and to staff up and to make sure that our fire service is one of the best around and that I will bring my over 27 years of experience to the table with. Same with a couple of decades of dealing with homelessness in Surrey and also my rather extensive experience in dealing with youth sports and making sure that youth that are in having experiencing economic hardship are also included because they are on the ones that suffer…”

“Whether I disagree or agree because I’m not the most agreeable person on the face of this planet, I will be professional and do it, I’ll stay on the issue and then we’ll move on after that.”

“Other focuses that I want to bring are bike and walking paths, seniors issues, equality, indigenous issues, safety and veterans issues.”

“I’m here to listen and to learn. I can do it by email, I am not very technologically advanced. I prefer the phone or you will probably get ‘how about we go for a cup of tea and talk about this’.”


Councillor Rob Rindt

(1:14:30-1:16:43)

“I look forward to being a strong voice for the agricultural community.”


Councillor Barb Martens

(1:16:50-1:20:47)

“Please know that I am here to serve all Township of Langley residents to the best of my ability and will put your safety and wellbeing at the forefront of decisions made.”

“I leave you with the words of Theodore Roosevelt, although I would preface that the usage of the word ‘man’ refers to all persons. ‘It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood and strives valiantly, who errors, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms. The great devotions who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


Councillor Misty Van Popta

(1:20:56-1:26:11)

“I do not take this position lightly. I am ready to get my hands dirty, dig through the weeds of information and make the tough decisions. But I know this will not always be enough for my detractors, for those who think differently than I. Politics is a polarizing experience where it doesn’t matter what I do or say, someone will not like it, while others praise it.”

” I want to document publicly what I promise to you. To the taxpayers, I vow to always look at the big picture, to always look through the lens of those whose funds are in our hands and to do what is right, even in the face of making an unpopular decision. My goal as Councillor is to look at both our immediate concerns but also at our long term objectives. And at points those issues may be conflicting I ask for your trust that when those votes are difficult that I have weighed my decision for a greater good.”

“I look forward to showing people that being a team aligned in some key issues does not mean that we’re Lemmings to a cliff or puppets to a Master.”


Councillor Michael Pratt

(1:26:17-1:31:05)

“We have the opportunity to do something incredibly worthwhile with the responsibility that we’ve been given. After all, why go through one of the world’s hardest job interviews if not to have the chance to leave our community a better place than when we found it.”

“We have the responsibility to govern for those who voted for us but also those who who didn’t. If we forget this, then it will be the divisiveness of this Council that people remember about us as opposed to the progress that we have the opportunity to make.”

“I’m looking forward to seeing these members of the public who always work to keep Council accountable and I hope you continue to do the necessary work of reminding us who we are exactly here to serve.”

“This community of ours is soon going to reach and then eclipse 150,000 people, almost double population that was here when my family moved here 25 year ago. We are the second fastest growing municipality in the province and I’m looking forward to getting to work on an ambitious agenda to provide the pieces of a community that the residents deserve and expect.”

“However, tough times are ahead. In fact, for a lot of residents they’re already here. We need to make sure that we can deliver the programs that people rely on and that support them and make sure that we are delivering the new infrastructure required to expand these programs, while making sure that we don’t put ourselves in the position to make life even more expensive. I believe that this council can navigate these challenges, but that doesn’t mean that we can ignore them.”

“Next year our Township turns 150. And I sincerely believe that these next four are some of the most crucial in our long history.”


Councillor Steve Ferguson

(1:31:17-1:42:55)

“So here today is your [Mayor Woodward] test. I know you have ideas around parks and recreation, protection, community development, permit process, fees and charges, taxes, amongst other issues, as many of us do. I am positive that starting day one you are committed to those items. I believe this Council is more than prepared to work with you to make that happen, all for the advancement and the benefit of the ratepayers of Langley Township.”


Mayor Eric Woodward

(1:43:20-1:56:40)

“The campaign is over now and I really want to stress that I would really like to replace the campaign with a positive constructive conversation over the next four years to get things done. We campaigned on a very specific platform of capital projects and renewal of building permits, development processes, but its really important as well to identify what kind of Township of Langley do we want to have, not just 4 to 8 years from now, but 20 to 25 years from now.”

“By 2041, we’re projected to have over 210,000 people at current projected density and I expect that that will start to go up a bit more. What is the Township of Langley going to look like when we experience that kind of urban growth – not only from net immigration, but the need for infrastructure, community amenities, and the urban forms that we are going to create to bring those new residents to Langley?”

“We thought a lot about that during the campaign and I know we are going to continue to think more about it over the next four years… as we make decisions going forward that are going to have a significant impact on what our community is going to look like as we start to contemplate what that additional population is going to cost but also how do we create and maintain the character that is Langley today that we love and cherish so much.”

“In this election we’ve seen for the longest time for the first time in a long time, a political party be chosen, a slate, be chosen to govern the Township of Langley with three independent councillors. That is a responsibility that we are never going to lose sight of. That a responsibility to be chosen as a team comes with great opportunities but also great responsibility and some risk. I’m committed to collaboration, openness of ideas and focusing on getting things done with all members of council each and every day.”

“We want to make sure that we govern appropriately, govern carefully, and that we govern with due humility and concern for the decisions and the impact that decisions we are going to make will have on the future of the Township of Langley.”

“I’m going to leave it there. We’re going to let the next few Council meetings speak for themselves.


Former Councillor David Davis

(1:56:40)

“TERMINATION!”

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