After four terms on Delta city council, Jeannie Kanakos is bidding politics farewell.
In a statement sent to the Reporter this week, Kanakos confirmed she will not be running again in October, a decision she made after several discussions with her family.
“I am proud of the accomplishments of this council,” Kanakos said as she thanked Delta residents for the honour of serving as a city councillor since 2005.
“Of special mention are the steps taken by the City of Delta on reconciliation with the neighbouring Indigenous nations, and it is hoped that Delta will continue partnerships with First Nations on the many issues of joint concern,” she said.
“Also important is the improved and enhanced relationship with the social services sector who serve the vulnerable in Delta.”
Kanakos and her husband, school Trustee Nick Kanakos (first elected in 2011), moved to Delta in 1980 and raised their four children here. She holds a master’s degree specializing in Canadian, B.C. and Indigenous history from Simon Fraser university is a certified negotiator through the Justice Institute of BC.
In her 17 years on council, Kanakos has served on most of Delta’s committees and commissions, and currently sits as a voting member of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission. Kanakos is also the council liaison to Deltassist Family & Community Services Society and alternate council liaison to the Delta Child and Youth Committee, serves on the boards of Fraser Valley Regional Library and Metro Vancouver, and is member of Metro Vancouver’s Indigenous Relations Committee.
Through her work with the city’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission and past terms on the Heritage Advisory Commission, the former Community Planning Advisory Committee and former Active Transportation Committee, Kanakos has demonstrated a commitment to livability and sustainability while championing social justice and reconciliation.
Her independent views on council and penchant for asking tough questions was especially evident during debates about highrise development in her home community of North Delta.
“Some density is needed, however not at the cost of livability in the community. It is possible to achieve a balance through creative design and consideration of what the residents in the community are saying,” she said.
A former university athlete, Kanakos was also among the notable voices advocating for a new track facility at North Delta Secondary, a passion that became a reality when the World Athletics compliant facility officially opened last summer.
“The North Delta track was a dream for this community and it was achieved through partnerships with the federal and provincial governments as well as the school district,” Kanakos said. “Once again, a thank you to all including this council and staff for the hard work behind making the track a reality for the Delta community.”
Kanakos said that those same partnerships can be drawn on to improve tracks and recreation facilities in South Delta.
Looking forward, Kanakos said she will continue to advocate for a healthy, safe and livable city.
“This community remains the best place to live, work and play in because of our committed, caring community. Thanks to you all, for all your efforts and support along this journey.”
For those new faces who will take their place on council this fall, Kanakos offered the following:
“My biggest hope for the newly elected councillors is that they listen to the community voices when considering future development. It is the job of the council, with the help of staff, to find the balance between density and development,” she said. “At every turn, consider the environment and sustainability while balancing, livability, affordability and beauty, for now and future generations.”
The municipal election will be held on Saturday, Oct. 15, and with Kanakos’ announcement it’s now guaranteed that there will be at least four new faces on council, with councillors Bruce McDonald, Dan Copeland and Lois Jackson all saying they won’t be seeking re-election.
There will be a similar turnover on Delta school board, with Trustee Laura Dixon retiring from public office and trustees Daniel Boisvert and Jessie Dosanjh taking a run at council.
To date, Mayor George Harvie and his Achieving for Delta slate — which includes Boisvert and Dosanjh, as well as current councillors Dylan Kruger and Alicia Guichon and sitting trustees Erica Beard and Val Windsor — are the only candidates to announce their intentions to run.