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Lillian Szpak - Langford council candidate 2022

Lillian Szpak

Are you associated with or running as part of a slate? If so, which one?

Running independently (not on a slate)

Do you live in the municipality where you are running, and if so, for how long? If not, what is your connection to that community?

I live in Langford since 1993. I have been on Council consistently since 2002.

What is your occupation, and for how long?

I am retired

Health Care Administration, 25 years, leadership coach 10 years

Tell us about your previous elected and/or community experience.

I was first elected in 2002. I served on the Executive of the Westshore Chamber of Commerce, volunteered for community organizations in Langford and served as a citizen member volunteer on Langford’s Planning and Zoning Committee. I have always enjoyed community work. Running for Langford Council in 2002 seemed like a natural next step in serving my community.

Why are you running? What’s your motivation?

My priority is to bring the community’s voice to the table. We are at a crossroads in our growth. The public put their trust and faith in me; depend on me to make decisions for a liveable, safe, affordable community. My job is to deliver services that residents want and deserve. I work in the spirit of collaboration, listen deeply, and try my best to make Chambers welcoming, respectful for residents to speak out, uninterrupted, and the guarantee that they are heard.

What are your top three issues?

1. A strategic plan for growth — Residents, “We like living in Langford but we think it’s grown too big, too fast and the traffic and dust is a nightmare. And they’re taking down too many trees. Feels like Council doesn’t care”.

2. Affordable housing — Residents, “Why are we replacing older neighbourhoods with condo towers? Market value prices and rents are not affordable housing though Mayor and developers call it that.”

3. Effects of Climate Change — Youth, “My generation has a sense of dread and helplessness. What kind of world are you leaving us?”

What’s your vision for your community in 25 years?

A community that adheres to environmentally sustainable practices; more, safer cycling walking trails/routes; treed, spacious passive green spaces connecting neighbourhoods; community buses, dedicated transit corridors; family diverse co-op housing clusters with imbedded wellness services; planned community gardens; town hall and band shell for artists, gatherings, shows; Langford as LA of the north with sound and film studios, professional jobs that come with them; affordable recreation for all with outdoor pools, slides, wading pools for tots and seniors; year round covered farmer’s market in dedicated pedestrian zone; sidewalks in every single neighbourhood; “Climate Corps” of retired and youth volunteers working on riverbank stabilization, wetland restoration, native plant harvesting, solar panels, water conservation systems.

What’s one “big idea” you have for your community?

We need affordable rentals. Langford should consider a Non-Profit Housing Acquisition Strategy (UBCM 2022) which I think could be funded by Senior Governments and Developer Amenity Contributions. Non-profits would use these funds to purchase houses in older areas near Langford’s core that are now being replaced by unaffordable towers and condos. This could prevent tenants from being forced from their homes. The Province could exempt non-profit organizations from property transfer tax that could be used for upgrades and repairs to the existing houses. They become affordable rental homes, with backyards for families, seniors, singles, couples, people with diverse abilities. Langford could retain desirable, established single family neighbourhoods, walking distance of downtown.