After months of door knocking, mayoral candidate Jim Cessford has finally revealed the first points of his slate’s campaign platform.
Cessford’s first announcement, timed to follow the all-candidates meeting hosted by the Delta Farmers’ Institute on Sept. 12, focused on the importance of Delta’s agricultural community to the city.
“Farming is a core part of who we are in Delta. It is our history and heritage that make us a unique and special place to live, however urbanization continues to challenge that heritage,” Cessford said in a press release.
“It’s important to preserve farm land, promote farming and support the agricultural community and the many farming families that continue to operate in Delta.”
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To this end, Cessford said that if elected he is committed to hiring a professional agrologist to liaise with the city and Delta’s farming community. This agrologist would help develop an agricultural impact assessment policy, which could be applied to planning and development proposals, as well as help update the 2011 Delta Agricultural Plan.
Cessford also said that he plans to work with the Farmers’ Institute to assess and rehabilitate farm roads and dykes, as well as work to increase the farming income tax threshold to $7,000 to discourage minimal agricultural production.
Less than a week later, Cessford’s Independents Working for You slate made two other platform announcements: one on sport in Delta and the other on traffic safety.
Council candidate Garry Shearer said that the slate is committed to making Delta a centre of excellence for sport if elected this October.
“Currently, events like Tour de Delta are proudly hosted in Delta and they contribute to tourism and economic development,” Shearer said in the press release. “We seek to leverage the experience from these events to build on those successes. We will encourage more opportunities for athletes, volunteers, and spectators.”
To do that, Shearer said, the slate would work to create a municipal advisory committee for sport, as well as develop a vision and strategy for sport in Delta. They would also work with other levels of government to find funding sources and opportunities to support athletic development in the city, and work to create opportunities for private sector investment.
Notably, the slate also promised to engage residents with a “referendum or similar public engagement process” before undertaking significant investments, presumably in relation to sports.
The goal, Shearer said, would be to have Delta bidding to host events like the BC Seniors Games by 2022, the BC Summer Games in 2024, or the Canada Summer Games in 2025.
Cessford’s campaign commitment regarding traffic safety was largely centred around schools.
“The reality is, with 31 schools in Delta, there is a school site within a kilometre on average in the north and slightly over a kilometre in the south,” Cessford said in a press release.
“This means that schools have a tremendous impact on traffic patterns at certain times of day. We must collaborate as governing bodies to ensure everyone in the community can feel safe on the roads and sidewalks.”
If elected, Cessford said he would rebuild the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee to include elected officials.
Several years ago, school board candidate Laura Dixon said in a press release, the committee was changed to a staff-only body that “created a disconnect between our constituents, and put more steps between identification of issues, analysis and action important for school zone safety.”
“This is one of the top reasons why we have a combined slate for council and school board, we have to be working together to get solutions,” she said.
Cessford’s Independents Working for You slate includes incumbent councillors Jeannie Kanakos and Bruce McDonald and incumbent school trustees Dixon and Nick Kanakos. Political newcomers Sandeep Pandher and Garry Shearer are running for council under the same banner, as is trustee candidate Joe Muego.
The civic election will take place on Oct. 20, with advance voting on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.