This week we heard that community activist ML Burke had passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. While I was saddened to hear the news of her diagnosis last fall, I was shocked to learn just how soon ML had left us.
As regular readers of this paper will know, ML was a frequent contributor to the North Delta Reporter, as well as the Delta Optimist. In addition, ML sat on the Delta Seniors Planning Team, the B.C. Seniors Advocate’s Advisory Council, and our Delta Community Livability Advisory Committee.
Her contributions to our Community Liveability Advisory Committee, though we have only been meeting for a short time, were substantial, and future meetings will not be the same without her there.
ML was extremely passionate about Delta and an outspoken advocate for seniors’ issues, particularly the need for more dedicated seniors’ rental housing and accessible or adaptable units in new developments.
One of her last public speeches was at the 2019 public hearing for the KinVillage redevelopment in Tsawwassen, which will eventually provide 798 units of seniors’ rental housing, congregate care and community care beds. ML spoke about the urgent need to provide more seniors’ housing to meet the needs of our aging population.
A dog owner, ML championed the need for dedicated, enclosed park space for small dogs — a vision that will come to fruition this year with the relocation and enlargement of the Delview Park off-leash area in North Delta.
ML was also outspoken about the need to plan for the future of Patterson Park in Ladner. Her vision was that dedicated seniors’ housing would be incorporated into a future site development.
As chair of our Community Liveability Advisory Committee, I wish to add my voice of thanks to ML for her many years of service to our community, and condolences to her family and loved ones on her passing. Delta is a better place today because of ML Burke.
She will be dearly missed.
Dylan Kruger is a first-term councillor with the City of Delta and chairs council’s Community Liveability Advisory Committee.