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Candidate bio: Dr. Maha Balakumar

Maha Balakumar is an independent candidate running for council
Maha Balakumar
Maha Balakumar (Independent)

Doctor Maha Balakumar recently retired from a 40-year career in medicine, the last 22 of which were practicing in Delta. He is a past Medical Director at the Mountain View Manor long-term care facility, past board director with the Delta Division of Family Practice, GP lead in the formation of the ‘Health Hub’ at Augustine House nursing home and a past member with the committee on assisted living at FHA.

Having served the people of Delta directly as a physician, Maha has always held a keen interest in local politics and the well-being of the residents of the community he has worked and lived in for many years. Caring for patients through the COVID-19 pandemic at Delta Hospital, Dr. Balakumar developed a deeper understanding of the importance of being there for families through difficult times.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Maha wants to continue to serve the people of his adopted home as an independent, thoughtful, and common sense voice on the city council.

In his leisure hours, Maha enjoys golf, pickle ball, and Latin dancing.

He is running because he believes we need to have independent voices heard in council. One team only of Mayor Harvie getting into council is not good for good governance or democracy of council. I want to be that independent voice in council and the reason I’m running.

What are your election issues?

The people of Delta must elect independent voices to the city council. Democracy works best when the council serves the people, not the needs of a party headed by the mayor.

Housing and rental affordability are central to the future of Delta. Without affordable housing, our children must relocate, seniors have nowhere to down size to, renters are priced out of the market, and young families are unable to move in.

Affordable rentals and senior housing in particular are predicted to get worse in the immediate future. Generally speaking, people like to own. If they can’t own, they rent and if you can’t rent, then they become homeless. We don’t want to see homelessness emerge in Delta as we have seen in other parts of the province. 

Senior well-being is also a concerning issue for me, specifically with an aging population that is predicted to balloon to 40 per cent in 2024 from around 20 per cent at present. Having cared for seniors and served with senior issues in boards, committees, and long term care facilities, it is also a passionate issue for me. A comprehensive approach starting with living arrangements, physical and mental well-being, community services, and engagement with the community are paramount in this regard. 

Mental health issues and substance use issues hide in the shadows for the most part in Delta. Health care in general has become a major concern for many residents in Delta. While these issues are under provincial and federal jurisdiction, the City has a role to play, including vibrant and focused advocacy and lobbying effort to leverage our resources with the higher levels of government, and ensuring that new and existing support programs continue to have a home in the communities they serve, as well as enhancing awareness and accessibility of community-based services.