The North Delta Reporter sent mayor candidates 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 Team Delta candidate Sylvia Bishop 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 mayor?
As an elected member of council for the past seven years (since 2011), I have tried to make a great city even better. I will continue doing so if elected as Delta’s next mayor.
2) What in your opinion are the top issues facing the City of Delta and how do you plan to address them?
We mailed questionnaires this summer to Delta residents, and were deluged with responses which helped us to develop “action plans” on affordable housing and rental accommodation, ethical government, economic development and more.
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?
Team Delta and I published a research paper on affordable-housing challenges. We also pledged to hold within 100 days of the election a “housing summit” to bring together economists, developers, rental advocates and others to find “Made in Delta” solutions.
4) What is your stance on cannabis production and retail sales in Delta?
Cannabis should not replace soil-based food crops on valuable farmland. We support cannabis production in industrial areas, but it must be in enclosed buildings with bio-filters to mitigate odours.
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 wrote “A Fiscal Framework, 2019 to 2022”’ which will keep Delta debt-free. We currently have — and will have — the funds needed to expedite a new, competition-quality North Delta Secondary track replacement. I also will address the need for new cricket pitches, plus promote the use of all-weather, covered shelters in our municipal parks.
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?
Delta has the lowest proportion of family doctors in B.C., so we will to allocate a portion of Delta’s casino revenues to recruiting additional physicians. Up to $95,000 each year will go to 44 scholarships for Delta students to study medicine or health care. After graduating, many will return to our city and deliver great health services to Delta families.
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?
The council service benefit was developed by George Harvie, the former city manager. Mr. Harvie wrote that his staff “recommend establishing a council service benefit to be paid upon the conclusion of a council member’s time on council.” A member of Mr. Harvie’s slate of candidates, the retiring Mayor Lois Jackson, is expected to receive more than $124,000. I regret my role in approving Mr. Harvie’s recommendation and this week I voted at council for a review. It will be abolished if I am elected as Delta’s next mayor.
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 bridge is the best solution largely because it will leave the smallest “footprint” on Delta’s valuable agricultural land. However, the final decision will be made by the province of B.C., which has the financial resources to construct the new Fraser River crossing.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20.