Mayoral candidate Jim Cessford says it’s clear that the culture at city hall needs to change.
In a press release earlier this week, the Independents Working for You candidate shared some his observations from the campaign trail, things he’s seen and heard that indicate to him that “all is not perfect.”
“I will get things done in a transparent, ethical and timely manner. My team have listened and heard what residents and staff have said over the past six months. It is clear to me that we must change some decisions that have been made and the toxic culture at city hall that led to those decisions” Cessford said in the press release.
“We will start with enacting a whistle-blower and an anti-bullying policy to protect staff and residents. We have focused on the positive things we would like to do. It is now important that we point out the things that need to change.”
Cessford began by pointing to the city’s lack of vision or a strategic plan.
“Delta has had no strategic plan or long-term vision for the City of Delta. An Official Community Plan (OCP) is not the same and it has been changed at the whim of city hall. One example is the OCP indicated a six-storey structure on 75A Avenue in North Delta, and that was changed to a highrise without public consultation.”
On eliminating the city’s debt, Cessford said, “Former Mayor of Delta Beth Johnson had a plan. In 1990, she implemented a debt management program to tackle the city’s $68-million debt. By 2000, she had successfully reduced it by $11 million to $58 million. Time to give credit where credit is due.”
Regarding what he called failing infrastructure, he said, “There has been a lot of talk about Delta being debt-free, but what you are not being told about is the millions of dollars in failing infrastructure that needs to be upgraded or replaced. Perhaps it’s time for a forensic audit.”
Cessford also shared his thoughts on the Enviro-Smart Organics controversy.
“Enviro-Smart’s industrial composting debacle and stench on ALR lands has been going on for a decade, and still has a lot of unanswered questions raised by Metro Vancouver and the many residents affected by the smell,” he said.
On the subject of council’s end-of-service benefit (dubbed a “golden handshake”), Cessford said, “We’re tired of quiet deals buried in a pile of reports, like the golden handshake, without transparency and public consultation.”
And finally, Cessford commented on the city’s “failed relationships.”
“The current Delta go-it-alone attitude and failed relationships with key partners federally, provincially, and locally are hurting Delta and affecting our bottom line, our funding and our ability to get buy-in to getting the job done, like a new bridge or replacement tunnel.”
Cessford closed his remarksby saying his slate of candidates will provide leadership to make Delta a safe, happy and healthy community, adding they will foster dialogue, create a vision, and be responsible, accountable and all times empathetic to the needs of the residents they serve.
“Future behaviour is predicted by past behaviour. It is clear the culture at city hall must change.”
The civic election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20.