He may only be 21 years old, but Michael Pratt believes the voice of young people is needed now more than ever on Township of Langley council.
Pratt — who recently announced his candidacy for Township council in the Oct. 20 election — was born and raised in Murrayville, and said he is running for office to help shape Langley’s future for generations to come.
“Langley is the kind of place where I can see myself living very long term. It’s the perfect community for me, and because of that, I want to make sure that I can be part of the process, and part of the decision making that will shape the community that I will be living in the next 10, 20, 30 years,” Pratt told the Langley Times.
“Langley is one of the fastest growing municipalities, there’s going to be 1 million people moving to Metro Vancouver in the next few decades, and so they are going to have to live somewhere. And I feel like we need forward thinking on council to make sure that we’re looking 10, 20 years down the road so that we can all be proud of the community that Langley is.”
Pratt is entering his fourth year in the University of British Columbia’s commerce program, specializing in real estate and urban land economic. He became involved in the Langley community at the age of 13, when he and his sister, Elizabeth, founded the non-profit Langley Youth for the Fallen and created the Walk to Remember memorial for Canadian soldiers at Derek Doubleday Arboretum.
If elected, Pratt says he will continue to work on his studies, while serving the community.
“I feel I am in a good position, because the things I am studying at school are directly applicable to what the council does,” Pratt said.
“Obviously, I might not have as much life experience as other candidates and other councillors, but the experience that I am getting and the learned process I am in right now is really going to be beneficial to serving this council.”
With a platform based on “making Langley affordable, livable and lively,” Pratt said responsible development and infrastructure are the top issues he wants to focus on. As part of that, he would like to see better transit options come to Langley, the Willowbrook Community Plan re-examined, a greater focus on affordable housing and changes to the way development cost charges are implemented.
For those who question his age, Pratt has this to say: “When (people) first hear that I’m 21, they are obviously going to take a second to process that, and think, ‘well, are we willing to take a chance on somebody at that stage in their life?’ I hope that people will take the time to read the platform … I’m hoping to meet with people, and have chats with them, and really get to know them, and connect with them and share my ideas with them,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of working with everybody — whether that be with staff, with other councillors, or with the mayor, whether that’s the City of Langley, whether that’s the Metro Vancouver board. I want to work as hard as possible, and with as many people as possible, to make sure that the community we live in in 10 to 20 years is one that we can be proud of.”