Mayoral candidate Sylvia Bishop made a series of platform announcements over the past week, pledging to improve Delta’s parks and recreation facilities and better support multiculturalism in the community.
Bishop, who is a sitting second-term councillor, is the first mayoral candidate to officially throw her hat into the ring for the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 20, alongside her Team Delta running mates Counc. Robert Campbell, Kim Kendall, Joan Hansen and Simran Walia.
In a pair of press releases on May 10, Bishop said that as mayor she will take immediate steps to address nearly $50 million in unfunded park, recreation and cultural amenities, including improvements to existing facilities.
“The longer we wait to make any improvements and upgrades, the more expensive each project becomes over time,“ Bishop said in a press release on May 10. “Meeting these needs is a priority.”
Bishop said the list includes improvements to playgrounds, trails and paths, turf fields and washrooms, noting in particular the need for upgrades at John Oliver Park.
“We hear from community and sports groups the need to improve our playing fields, whether it’s for soccer, baseball or other sports. Unfortunately, we often have to say that there is not enough money in the budget and they have to wait and join a long list of projects in our unfunded capital list. This has got to change, for everyone’s health, well-being and enjoyment of our healthy lifestyle,” she said.
Bishop also committed to establishing a mayor’s task force to tackle Delta’s degraded school track facilities, noting they’re used by both physical education classes, student athletes and recreational users.
“There are thousands of users who would welcome improved tracks. Track and field users are seeking new and upgraded facilities at the same time school district is removing the track surface at [South Delta Secondary],” Bishop said. “Time is running out for this council to get it done. I commit, when elected mayor, to getting it done in the new term.”
Bishop, whose duties on council including acting as vice-chair of Delta’s parks, recreation and cultural committee, also called for more covered areas so residents can enjoy the city’s parks year-round.
Then, on May 14, Bishop announced that if elected she would establish a new framework focused on multicultural inclusion and diversity.
“I have heard from many people we can do more and they want to help improve programs and services. It’s time to build more on our multicultural connections and foster collaboration with all of our ethnically diverse neighbours,” Bishop said in a press release. “Let’s pay attention to and develop programs and services for these residents’ needs. Working together with all partners in this new framework, the city can advance initiatives.”
Bishop said Delta does already make an effort to be inclusive, pointing to seniors’ centre programming, having bilingual staff at service centres and the many multicultural events supported by the city. However, she said, more can be done.
“We need to ask ourselves questions like how ethnically diverse are we throughout the city? How can we, working in collaboration, not just support and participate in events in our multicultural community, but initiate programs and services so we meet the needs of all of our residents? These are two questions at the top of my mind.”
“This is not complicated,” she continued. “We can learn from neighbouring communities and develop a made-for-Delta plan. As your mayor, I want to improve collaboration between the city and all its diverse communities.”
The municipal election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.