Councillor Eric Woodward has thrown his hat into the ring and will run for mayor of Langley Township this October, he announced this week.
Woodward’s announcement video on social media talked about the issues he wants to tackle, emphasizing infrastructure, development, and public services.
“We need a new modern long-term vision for the Township of Langley for the next 25 years, not the next few,” Woodward said in his announcement.
He said he wants to solve the Township’s “chronic infrastructure deficit,” and mentioned specifically issues around unfinished or partly-widened roads in Willoughby, calling 208th Street and 80th Avenue “an embarrassment, but also a symbol of the challenge we all face on so many issues.”
A lack of sidewalks and unsafe intersections were related issues Woodward said he would tackle as mayor.
“It’s been a challenge to sort of get a long-term plan for the infrastructure issues in Willoughby,” he said.
These are issues Woodward has brought up multiple times as a councillor, and he said he’s hoping being mayor would give him a bit more of a soap box to help work on them with the rest of council.
“It’s not just roads, we haven’t kept up with protective services,” Woodward said.
He also touched on housing availability, homelessness, and the length of time it takes to get building and development permission in the Township, whether for a garage or home addition, or for a new development.
Woodward said he will talk more about how to fund upgrades to those issues during the campaign, which will run until the Oct. 15 election day.
He won’t be running with a slate of council candidates, but Woodward said he hopes that some fresh faces appear on council.
“I think some turnover on council would be healthy,” he said.
At 49, Woodward pointed out that he is currently the youngest member of the council, and said that should change.
There is now an active race for the mayor’s seat in the Township, as Coun. Blair Whitmarsh announced last week that he will be running, following current Mayor Jack Froese’s announcement that he will retire and will not seek another term.
Whitmarsh emphasized smart development and job creation in his campaign announcement, and also said he will be running with a team of council candidates that he described as a group of “independent thinkers working together.”
The members of his team haven’t yet been announced.
Woodward characterized Whitmarsh as part of the “status quo” on council and said it should be a clear choice for voters this fall.
Woodward came to prominence in Langley more than a decade ago as a major commercial property owner in Fort Langley. He redeveloped the corner of Glover Road and Mavis Avenue with the Coulter Berry Building, a project that drew both support and opposition from locals and nearby merchants.
Impasses over further redevelopment of some downtown Fort sites led to several of Woodward’s buildings being boarded up and empty for years.
In 2018, he announced that he was transferring his Fort Langley property assets to a charitable foundation. The same year, Woodward successfully ran for council, gaining the second-highest number of votes among elected councillors.
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