Delta now has its second mayoral candidate, as former city manager George Harvie threw his hat into the ring at his campaign launch on Tuesday, May 22.
Harvie officially retired from his position as city manager on May 5, and started hinting at his candidacy not long after through his Twitter account.
After 18 years as City Manager for @CityofDeltaBC, today I officially retire. It's been an amazing journey, and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.
— George Harvie (@Harvie4Delta) May 7, 2018
Harvie had been Delta’s top staffer since 2001, and during that time has been at the helm of a number of projects for the city, including eliminating Delta’s $60 million debt, protecting Burns Bog and changing Delta from a corporation to a city.
“This is always something that I’ve been thinking about for many, many years,” Harvie said. “After sitting and seeing councils over the years — some great councils, some average, some not so good — I wanted to do my own thing.”
At the Tuesday night announcement, Harvie thanked current Mayor Lois Jackson for her “tireless leadership” over the last 20 years. He also brought forward his election platform, which included plans to maintain Delta’s debt free status.
He also said he would keep tax rates low, and plans to achieve this by increasing the tax base with more business and more housing choices for residents in the town centres, and without compromising agricultural space.
“Others say they will keep Delta open for business,” he said. “That is not what our Achieving for Delta team will do. We will actually go out and get business to invest and build in Delta by offering incentives and reduced approval times.”
He also plans keep Delta safe by establishing a public safety committee to discuss cannabis legislation and create more services for drug users, as well as maintain “a great Delta lifestyle” by working with the school board to improve local track facilities.
Running for council on Harvie’s Achieving for Delta slate are Dan Copeland, Param Grewal, Alicia Guichon, Dylan Kruger and Cal Traversy.
Copeland, a firefighter for 25 years, retired as Delta’s fire chief earlier this spring after 11 years in the position where he was instrumental in having Delta Fire licensed to provide enhanced medical aid on emergency calls, including administering naloxone to supected overdose victims.
“I think I still have something to contribute,” Copeland said. “I’m pretty confident in my leadership skills that I’ve developed through working here, and I love the community … I have several grandchildren who live in the community, and I’d like to make it better for them and their kids moving forward.”
Grewal has worked in non-profits and social services at the federal and provincial level, and is also an advocate for the rights farm workers.
Traversy is a former chair of Tour de Delta and a retired police officer, having served 27 years — 10 of them with the Delta Police Department.
Guichon, a young Ladner resident, is a farmer and entrepreneur, having opened Backroads Family Farm Market four years ago. She decided to run for council because she wants to stay connected to her community.
“It’s crazy, but I guess someone’s got to step up and be the voice for the people,” she said. “But … as a young person I’m really excited.”
Kruger is Delta South MLA Ian Paton’s executive assistant, and according to his blog has an abiding interest in politics.
Bringing young people like Kruger and Guichon to council is important for Harvie, he told the North Delta Reporter.
“That’s a voice that has not been around forever,” he said. “It seems politicians nowadays stay in place, there’s no turnover. So Delta needs a refresh on council.”
Achieving for Delta is the second slate announced for Delta’s upcoming municipal election. Team Delta, headed by Counc. Sylvia Bishop as the mayoral candidate, was announced back in March. Current councillor Robert Campbell, as well as North Deltan Kim Kendall, and South Deltans Joan Hansen and Simran Walia will run with her.
Current councillors Jeannie Kanakos and Bruce McDonald have both said they are considering running for council again, but have not made official announcements. Johann Ackermann, who ran for council in 2014, has also told the Reporter that he intends to run again.
The municipal election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.