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Bishop pledges to modernize Delta’s council committees

Mayoral candidate Sylvia Bishop wants to streamline Delta’s advisory committees.

In a press release sent out Wednesday morning, Bishop said that if elected she will immediately launch a review of the city’s 18 committees in an effort to reduce redundancies, abolish out-dated portfolios and create new bodies to “meet emerging priorities.”

“Our city’s existing advisory committees were established to assist Council and encourage public involvement in decision-making,” Bishop said in the press release. “I believe they generally have performed a very valuable service for our community, but it also is clear that a rigorous review and update now are needed to ensure that the committees are working well and adequately addressing newly-arising issues, challenges and opportunities.”

By way of example, Bishop pointed to a number of committees she says touch on economic development opportunities for the City of Delta, but “do not seem to operate with a clear focus on working together to promote investment and job creation,” including the Invest in Delta mayor’s standing committee, the mayor’s standing committee on regional transportation, the agricultural advisory committee, the advisory design panel and the community planning advisory committee.

“These committees have done much valuable work on behalf of our city, and I believe it is important that we continue to involve community residents in considering important issues,” Bishop said. “Still, I’m interested both in finding efficiencies in all aspects of our municipal governance, and bringing a sharper focus to economic development opportunities in the City of Delta.”

Fostering economic development has so far been much of the focus for Bishop and her Team Delta slate of council candidates in the run-up to the civic election.

On July 5, Bishop pledged to make the city’s Statements of Financial Information available online via the City of Delta’s website. These statements include things like the city’s assets and liabilities, an operational statement, a schedule of debts and a indemnity agreements. The statements also include detailed listings of remuneration paid to elected officials and un-elected staff, as well as payments to vendors.

A week later, Bishop’s campaign sent out a press release outlining her pledge to, if elected, create an economic development office at the City of Delta to attract more business to the community, noting that Delta is one of the few sizable municipalities in B.C. that does not have its own economic development department, agency or corporation.

Bishop also pointed out that, in looking at the eight largest municipalities in the Lower Mainland, all but Delta have a defined strategy or department to encourage economic development.

Later that month, Bishop’s campaign released a “fiscal framework” outlining the city’s annual expenses and revenue from 2011 to 2017 (the same time frame that Bishop has been a Delta councillor), and then projecting expected revenue and expenses from 2019 to 2022.

And on Aug. 1, Bishop annouced her campaign was launching a business-outreach initiative, to take place over an eight-week period leading up to the election.

“Business Breakfasts with Bishop” will be a series of 13 early-morning meals in five distinct business areas in Delta — Annacis Island, Ladner, North Delta, Tilbury Island and Tsawwassen — between Aug. 20 and Oct. 10.

“Business men and women in Delta are resourceful, innovative and hard-working,” Bishop in a press release, “and I am eager to strengthen a positive, two-way dialogue between our municipal administration and the private-sector.”

“Our city has come a long way in recent years, yet I believe we hold even greater promise and potential in the future. In that regard it is vital for us to maintain a respectful relationship with the business people who invest in our community and create jobs for local residents.”

The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.

— with files from Grace Kennedy

James Smith

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