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 Achieving for Delta candidate Param Grewal 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 have extensive experience of working in the public service sector in different ways. My work experience includes working for non-profit organizations for over 12 years and working in different levels of government with elected officials. I think my work experience, knowledge and passion for public service would help me be an ideal councillor.
2) What in your opinion are the top issues facing the City of Delta and how do you plan to address them?
Replacing the George Massey Tunnel with the bridge, make provisions for affordable housing with a creative mix of housing options and improving the transit services. The solutions to some of these issues are mentioned in the following answers.
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?
Prioritize non-profit housing solutions that are affordable to people with low to medium incomes, encouraging the for-profit housing industry to provide homes within reach of first-time local homebuyers. In terms of supply, we need to build more affordable housing, the kind of homes that are accessible to all incomes. I’ll immediately get to work building rental housing run by non-profits to house our workforce, co-operative housing for families, and supportive housing for the homeless and those with mental health and addiction issues.
4) What is your stance on cannabis production and retail sales in Delta?
I do not like the idea of converting greenhouses meant for food production for cannabis production. I would not like to see cannabis sold anywhere near schools or high-density areas where it can be easily accessible by young school-going kids.
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?
I will advocate for upgrading or replacing North Delta Secondary track first. The city needs to take over the responsibility of maintaining and upgrading the school grounds in collaboration with the school board. I like George Harvie’s vision of leasing the school grounds from the school board rather than spend money on creating new playground.
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 best way to mitigate the impact on the community would be by utilizing the revenues from the casino on programs and services for the benefit of seniors and that the youth and the non-profit organizations which provide vital services to the local communities.
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 have no issue with the outgoing elected officials being compensated in lieu of the pension plan that they could not join. Backdating it 12 years was okay in my opinion as these people have been working tirelessly for all Delta residents. I also would have no problems if the incoming council terminate this arrangement for the future.
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?
The aging George Massey Tunnel needs to be replaced. The bridge would be my preference. The middle two lanes can be dedicated for a LRT or rapid transit line from a long-term planning perspective.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.