Although the municipal election is still months away, Delta has its first candidates for mayor and council.
On Friday night (March 2) at the New Era banquet hall in North Delta, current councillor Sylvia Bishop announced her intent to run for mayor in the 2018 election.
“It is Mayor Jackson’s retirement coming up, and I want to salute her for her many years of service,” Bishop said. “But with her stepping down, the mayor’s seat is open and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves for Delta again, and with their support, do the work of mayor.”
Bishop has been on council since 2011. She currently sits on the community planning advisory committee; the Delta council and Delta board of education liaison committee; the mayor’s standing committee on regional transportation; the parks, recreation and culture commission; the seniors’ advisory sub-committee; and is the council liaison for Reach and the Delta Museum and Archives Society.
Bishop said she wasn’t announcing any key policy changes during her campaign announcement — although she does plan to bring some up as the election gets closer. But she did say she hopes to bring more diversity to the council chambers.
“I’m very committed to an inclusive and diverse city, recognizing that we do have a large population of Indo-Canadians and a large population of Chinese. And we don’t see them around a lot in council functions, council committees,” she said.
“Are there ways that we can bring them more into our city as participants, as well as embracing what they have to offer.”
Running with her on the newly created Team Delta slate is current councillor Robert Campbell.
“Even before the last election, I’ve been thinking about who’s going to be the next mayor after Lois has pretty much run her course,” Campbell said. “I decided a long time ago the only person that really has the ability to be the next mayor of Delta is Sylvia.”
Campbell has been on Delta council since 1999.
“I like doing what I’m doing,” he said, “and I think I have more to contribute.”
Also running in Team Delta are political newcomers Kim Kendall, Joan Hansen and Simran Walia. All have worked with Bishop in various capacities before.
Kendall, a North Delta resident and soon-to-be president of the North Delta Rotary Club, decided to run for council as an extension of her involvement in the community.
“It seemed like the natural progression,” she said. “I care about the community.”
Kendall has two kids who go to school in North Delta, and she said it’s “about keeping my kids in the community. I love this community and I want to be an example to them.”
Hansen, who has worked in Tsawwassen for over 30 years, has been involved with a variety of associations, including the chamber of commerce and the Delta police board, over the last 35 years.
“The community has been wonderful to me over the years, and it’s time to do something to give back,” Hansen said.
“I’m looking forward to be part of Delta as it goes forward and grows,” she continued. “It’s starting to grow all of a sudden, especially up here in [North Delta.]”
Simran Walia, the final candidate on Bishop’s Team Delta slate, is a Ladner resident and volunteer on the parks, recreation and culture committee. For her, running for council is an opportunity to bring South Asian women into more of a leadership role in the city.
“In the South Asian culture, women are mostly homemakers, and they are now coming up in a lot of fields and I’m very proud of that,” Walia said. “But in political arenas, there is still a gap where women are not that outward … and getting their hands dirty.
“I believe that women who can do it should come forward and synergize with us. Because everybody has great ideas in their mind, but they are all sitting in their own silos.”
The municipal election general voting day will be on Oct. 20, 2018. The nomination of candidates for the election won’t begin until September of this year.