(Black Press Media file photo)

COLUMN: This election, North Delta, you can get what you want

North Delta has power at the polls, even more so when people actually come out and vote

Take a look at yourselves North Delta.

The most ethnically diverse of Delta’s three communities, you make up more than half of the city’s population and half its easily-developable land. But you are more than a place to put townhomes and highrises. You are a powerful community.

Over my time at the North Delta Reporter,

I have heard the complaints, the whispers and shouts, that North Delta gets lost in the shuffle at council, that the interests of a residential centre with few commercial nodes get lost among discussions of farmland, dikes and beachfront.

That doesn’t have to be the case this time. On Oct. 20, you will get to choose who will represent the community in council. And chances are, the candidates you choose will get in.

After all, in the 2014 and 2011 elections the North Delta vote was a key factor in who made the cut.

When choosing between 13 council candidates, North Delta got its top six choices. In other words, whoever the majority of North Deltans voted for, that’s who got into council. (The exception is in 2014, when 65 more North Deltans voted for Rod Binder than Ian Paton. Paton’s strong support in South Delta got him into the council seat.)

Ladner and Tsawwassen got who they wanted too, for the most part. Tsawwassen lost its top choice for mayor in 2011 when Lois Jackson beat her closest competitor by nearly 4,000 votes. The majority of Tsawwassen voters wanted Krista Engelland as mayor, but 5,278 North Deltans said otherwise.

Delta civic election

The numbers prove it: North Delta has power at the polls. And it could be argued that this is because North Delta has such a large population of voting-age residents, and historically more than 90 per cent of them register for the election.

But in past elections, only around 25 per cent of North Delta’s registered residents actually filled in a ballot. Compare that to around 30 per cent for Ladner and Tsawwassen.

So what does this prove?

Delta residents from all communities work together to elect their council — that’s the whole point of democracy after all. But, as has been shown in the past, North Delta has the ability to direct the course of an election.

Right now there are three people running for mayor: Jim Cessford with Independents Working for You, Sylvia Bishop with Team Delta and George Harvie with Achieving for Delta.

Harvie and Bishop have both made some North Delta-specific election promises — Cessford has yet to make any specific announcements in his campaign — and all three have made sure to include North Delta candidates on their slates.

(This includes Jeannie Kanakos with Independents Working for You, who should be especially cognizant of North Delta’s influence as 45 per cent of her votes in 2014 came from North Delta, the most of anyone elected that year.)

They know — and you know — that North Delta can’t be forgotten.

You’ve proven that North Delta is good at registering to vote. Now prove that North Delta is good at voting.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, you will have 12 hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) to go to a voting station in your area. A list of locations will be provided in this newspaper closer to election day, and a card will be mailed to you by the city. (Historically, voting has taken place at elementary schools.)

Take a look at the field of candidates, North Delta, and decide who you want to represent your interests.

(Note: If you didn’t vote in the provincial election and haven’t already registered, you’ll have to bring two pieces of ID to verify your identity and residency when you go to cast your ballot on Oct. 20.)

Grace Kennedy is a reporter with the North Delta Reporter.


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