The North Delta Reporter sent candidates for councillor a list of eight questions to gauge their positions on some of the major issues in the 2018 civic election campaign. We gave candidates a limit of 400 words total to answer. Here’s what Independents Working for You candidate Bruce McDonald had to say:
(Note, all candidates’ answers have been edited for length, clarity and to conform with Canadian Press style, as required.)
1) Why are you running for council?
I was raised with the understanding that we live in an incredible place and are privileged in many ways. With that comes an obligation to give back to our community. I will always work to make Delta a better place to live, work and play.
2) What in your opinion are the top issues facing the City of Delta and how do you plan to address them?
I think the most important issue is to re-establish a transparent, ethical, honest senior administration (CAO, mayor) at city hall. Our citizens need to know they will be dealt with in a consistent fair manner. In addition, our staff need to be empowered to perform their duties for the benefit of you, the taxpayer.
3) What is your plan for addressing the need for affordable and rental housing in Delta, especially as it relates to medium- and high-density developments/highrises in North Delta?
There are a number of new options being tried in the area. Density bonuses, subsidy programs, co-op and partnership agreements are but a few. In order to make them work we need a strategic plan. We need to be flexible with housing types and ownership.
4) What is your stance on cannabis production and retail sales in Delta?
I don’t believe cannabis should be grown on agricultural land and I believe sales should be a function of the LCBC.
5) A number of Delta’s recreation facilities are in need of upgrading or replacement. Which projects do you think are important to tackle first, and where will you find the money to pay for them?
There are glaring deficiencies in all of our communities. Priorities must be established with community input. I believe the communities should be given the right, through referendum, to invest with controlled and manageable borrowing. I doubt many of us would have a home if we had never had a mortgage.
6) A new Casino will soon be built at the site of the Delta Town & Country Inn, bringing the city an estimated $1.5 million and $3 million in revenue. How do you think that money should best be spent, and how do you plan to mitigate the casino’s impact on the community?
The casino is an emotional issue for many. On balance I believe it can be a net benefit to our community. We need hotel and convention facilities and the development will provide 700 jobs. I have read the German report, I have spoken to people and authorities in most communities that currently host a casino and I am satisfied that they have not had a problem with crime associated with them. Any income from the gaming base should be earmarked for senior and youth facilities and programs.
7) Last year mayor and council voted to give outgoing elected officials a “Council Service Benefit” (commonly referred to as a “golden handshake”) to compensate them for not being eligible to join the city’s pension plan. Do you support this end-of-service benefit and do you agree with the decision to backdate it 12 years?
I do not have a problem with establishing a pension process for elected officials. In retrospect, I think the retroactivity clause is too long. I fully endorse a full public process to evaluate the remuneration of council.
8) The previous mayor and council advocated for a 10-lane bridge to replace the aging tunnel George Massey Tunnel. That is your preferred replacement option (or do you think it even needs replacing), and why?
I have been publicly in favour of a new bridge for many years. The tunnel was placed in 1958/59 and is approaching its usable life. The proposed bridge and highway upgrades will not alienate additional farm land, will have much less environmental impact and be less expensive than a new tunnel.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.