Councillor Margaret Kunst, one of the two people newly elected to Township council, was sworn into office by Judge Gary Cohen Monday. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Councillor Margaret Kunst, one of the two people newly elected to Township council, was sworn into office by Judge Gary Cohen Monday. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

Township council sworn in with new and old faces

Two new, a returning, and five re-elected councillors and the mayor swore their oaths of office.

A fresh start was the theme as Langley Township’s councillors and mayor were sworn into office Monday night.

Mayor Jack Froese, elected to his third term in office, said there will be “new beginnings” and that the council will learn from the past and look forward this term.

He also mentioned a number of the key issues expected to arise in the coming months and years – congestion and construction on 208th Street in Willoughby, Brookswood’s upcoming neighbourhood plans, homelessness, legal cannabis cultivation on farmland, and a new museum proposed for Fort Langley.

Froese noted that Langley, unlike some other municipalities, didn’t have any political parties competing, so the council will have to come to a consensus rather than being guided by party platforms.

“Decisions weren’t made in the campaign… decisions will be made at the council table,” Froese said.

The eight councillors also mentioned new starts and frequently sang one another’s praises during their first remarks.

The new council includes five returning councillors: Councillors Petrina Arnason, David Davis, Bob Long, Kim Richter, and Blair Whitmarsh.

Former longtime councillor Steve Ferguson, defeated in 2014, regained a council seat.

The two entirely new faces at the table are Councillors Margaret Kunst and Eric Woodward.

Several councillors mentioned priorities for the upcoming term, and a few referenced the fact that disagreements are likely on some points.

“It’s about quality of life, not quantity of development,” said Richter.

Kunst mentioned her dedication to quality athletic facilities for residents of all ages, Davis brought up affordable housing and agriculture, and Ferguson mentioned fiscal responsibility – noting he still has his business cards from his last term on council and won’t need new ones.

On council harmony, Woodward noted that he wouldn’t always vote as everyone else does, but emphasized it is okay for the councillors to disagree. Arnason hoped for a new beginning and a chance to chart a new course, Whitmarsh mentioned the many different visions offered for Langley during the election, and Long said he would work to build consensus.