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 Garry Shearer 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 would like to help bring community leadership back to city hall. We have great staff that need leadership and direction from management and council. We need to bring the voice of the community into our council decisions and to guide the development of a strategic plan.
2) What in your opinion are the top issues facing the City of Delta and how do you plan to address them?
Public safety is a concern I am hearing a lot. The casino, Tsawwassen mall, cannabis legalization and gang/drug activity in North Delta are issues concerning many. We need to make sure our police get training and resources to keep Delta the safe community we’ve enjoyed for 20 years. Traffic is becoming a major problem. Our strategic plan should incorporate transportation that meets the needs of Delta. We then need to collaborate with Surrey and other municipalities to determine the best options then go to Victoria and Ottawa with one voice.
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?
We missed the opportunity with recent projects to negotiate a percentage of the units in high-density developments be dedicated to rental housing. This has to be a consideration going forward. We also need to look at appropriate density in existing neighbourhoods like the Higgins development where the neighbours have supported four small homes being built on a single residential lot to allow the family to stay together.
4) What is your stance on cannabis production and retail sales in Delta?
We can’t control the growth of cannabis on ALR lands because of the Right to Farm Act. We do need to work with our farm community to encourage them to continue farming for food production. Delta is not ready for cannabis distribution. We should use our right as local government to veto any retail licences, under the BC Cannabis Act, and limit distribution to BCLS for the next five years.
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?
First, we need to get the results of the facilities assessment we contracted out last year to see what the state of our facilities are. We should start with the facilities that are in most need to repair/replacement and share this information with the communities affected and present funding options for approval of the community.
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?
I would like to know that we have no conflict of interest taking money from a casino that we are also policing. The prospects of the casino generating that amount of cash is speculation at this point. With the money laundering crackdown, other casino revenues are way down this year. So let’s see the money first then decide where it’s most needed a few years from now.
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?
No. Absolutely not.
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?
A bridge is my preference for two reasons: public safety and the ability to add future public transit options.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.