Scott Goodmanson is the new mayor of Langford.
In a shocking turn at the polls Saturday night, the unknown candidate beat Stew Young — the seven-term, 30-year mayor — with 53 per cent of the vote.
It left Goodmanson, a resident of Saanich who grew up in Langford, lost for words.
“I’m in a state of shock … holy sh—, I can’t believe this is happening,” said Goodmanson, who was sitting around a campfire at his parents’ Langford Lake home when the results came in. He earned 4,483 votes to Young’s 3,796.
Young, who had been sipping champagne with his supporters at the Bear Mountain Westin Hotel, didn’t immediately answer his cellphone for comment.
Goodmanson’s victory wasn’t the only shocker.
The entire Langford council — save for Lillian Szpak — was wiped out and replaced as the five Langford Now slate were elected.
Colby Harder, 26, led the way with more votes than anyone — 5,072 — and she said Langford residents spoke loud and clear that they were ready for a change.
“I am shocked and I’m over the moon … ecstatic,” she said. “The people of Langford have wanted a change and you could see that in 2018 [when there was only 18 per cent vote turnout]. It was clear they wanted people with the courage to step up and be part of that change. We are here and ready to hear Langford.”
Young has enjoyed relative freedom to guide Langford through a three-decade building boom, with a majority of councillors supporting the mayor’s decisions and developers getting green lights to plow ahead with new residential and commercial developments.
But that tempo is expected to change with Langford Now candidates having a mandate of casting a more critical eye on the social and environmental impacts of the city’s rapid development.
Keith Yacucha, Kimberley Guiry, Mark Morley and Mary Wagner were all elected, promising a review of Langford’s Official Community Plan, which hasn’t been updated in 14 years.
Young’s Community First Langford slate included long-time councillors Lanny Seaton, Matt Sahlstrom and Roger Wade, along with incumbent Norma Stewart and two new faces, Shirley Ackland, former mayor and councillor of Port McNeill, and Shannon Russell Willing, who runs Langford’s support for Ukrainian refugees.
All were defeated. Denise Blackwell, who served on Langford council since 1992, when the city was incorporated, was also defeated.
Szpak, who often crossed swords with Young over his decorum around the city hall table and his reluctance to discuss codes of conduct and environmental reviews, said she was surprised by the results.
She said she was pleased about the city’s fresh start.
“Mayor Young was saying he was going to keep doing what he was doing, despite all the concerns and voices he was hearing in the community,” Szpak said. “This is what happens.”
Szpak, as the most experienced politician, said she will be doing “a lot of mentoring” going forward.
Langford has only had one other mayor — Jim London, when the municipality was first incorporated in 1992. Young started his political career as as councillor that year, and he’s been in the mayor’s chair ever since.
Young is credited with turning Langford into a regional powerhouse for housing and business development, and a sporting and recreational mecca. But he has been criticized for his close ties with local developers and for being curt and dismissive with members of the public expressing concerns at public hearings about mega-projects such as highrises in Langford’s downtown.
Langford Now said it isn’t against development, but wants to take the time to measure impacts on the residents.
The new councillors say Langford’s growth has outpaced its infrastructure, which is showing in traffic congestion and shrinking green space.
Goodmanson, who is married to wife Katey and has a five-year-old daughter, Hazel, operates a garden pond and excavating business.
His humble campaign headquarters consisted of a small tent trailer where he’s been rallying volunteers over the past month — “more like a cozy family camping trip than a glitzy election party.”
“I have learned a lot over the last five weeks. You have to listen to people and how they feel and what they want,” he said.
“I went door to door and people said they were being ignored.”