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 Sandeep Pandher 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?
We are raising our two children in Delta. We value our community, and opportunities that Delta provides for our family. My passion is for Delta to be a leader compared to cities across Canada by innovating to keep Deltan’s moving, building a family-friendly city and accelerating leadership on environment action, while strengthening integrity.
2) What in your opinion are the top issues facing the City of Delta and how do you plan to address them?
Maintaining the safety and security of our community is a top priority. Providing efficient citizen services and streamlining bureaucratic hurdles for those doing business in Delta is also a priority. We will increase recruitment of front-line staff and adopt technologies to modernize service delivery to be responsive and effective.
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?
Renewing existing housing stock requires innovative solutions that meet needs of first time owners, young families and seniors all looking to live in Delta. I support a consultative approach to develop a vision and define the character of new housing renewal and density with residents at the neighborhood level.
4) What is your stance on cannabis production and retail sales in Delta?
Growing cannabis on ALR land and in residential neighborhoods are concerns from public nuisance, health and safety perspectives. Major cannabis operations on ALR lands should have odour control technologies as requirement for business licences. I support limited cannabis retail licences in accordance with provincial and federal guidelines.
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?
The track projects in North and South Delta, along with turf improvements at Mackie and Winskill Park, are priorities. Funding for South Delta track, Mackie and Winskill turf projects, is in place. North Delta track funding is a joint submission with feds, province and school board.
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?
Council’s approval of Gateway’s casino proposal has many associated concerns including public safety, criminal activity and money laundering. Revenues accrued through casino proceeds should be directed towards priority youth, seniors and public safety initiatives as identified through consultation with local residents and businesses.
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 support with the current the council service benefit, i.e. “golden handshake,” and its retroactivity due to the lack of transparency and public consultation associated with this decision. I believe we should have fulsome public consultations when deciding compensation for public-elected officials, not make decisions in backrooms.
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 new crossing across the Fraser River to replace the existing Massey Tunnel would be a transportation priority. A majority of opinions I have heard from are in favor of a new bridge. I’m open to reviewing reports for alternate approaches.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.