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Harvie says his council won't see a north or south, just Delta

Harvie says council will continue to push ahead on many initiatives already started including housing to improving parks and recreational facilities
Winning a second term, George Harvie was all smiles at a packed ballroom with enthusiastic supporters at Tsawwassen Springs when the election results were announced last Saturday night.

It was resounding victory for re-elected Mayor George Harvie and his Achieving for Delta Team.

Harvie in last Saturday’s municipal election beat out independent challengers Peter van der Velden and Joginder Randhawa by a wide margin, capturing 77 per cent of the vote for the mayor’s seat while comfortably taking every Delta poll.

His slate also took all six council seats by a wide margin, as well as all but one of the school board seats.

It was the result of not only his record the past four years, including guiding the city through the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a lot of hard campaigning work, including his team knocking on over 15,000 doors to hear directly from residents, he told the Optimist this week.

“I’ve never, ever rested on my laurels. Not only did we work so hard to get re-elected, but I worked very hard being mayor. We accomplished a lot, even with a council that at times was difficult insofar as trying to move the city ahead,” he said.

“On the election side, our team worked tirelessly together. I think the difference this time is we took two years to put a team together, versus the last time we ran (2018 election) when it was two months. We were able to interview a number of people who showed interest and the result was a very united team. They recognize that the mayor is the leader, and my job is to ensure we fulfill the promises we made to the citizens of Delta during the election campaign,” added Harvie.              

The best feedback they could have gotten was going door-to-door and the majority of feedback received was that residents approved the direction the city was going, unlike the turmoil seen in other cities, said Harvie, adding residents wanted the city to continue moving in the right direction on such issues as public safety, having more housing units and creating more daycare spaces.

He noted the council has a strong mix of talent from both North and South Delta, but it’s also important for council to be a group with each member focusing on not just one area.

The focus should remain Delta being one community, rather than split between the north and south, he said.

“I think for the first time it feels very much together with the canvassing that we ran and with the results of the election. We all think that we’re just one city, not north and south. Other mayors and other councils had pushed that agenda quite a bit and even at the council table this term, there was talk about Winskill (Aquatic & Fitness Centre) and we had Lois (Jackson) and Jeannie (Kanakos) talking about having the citizens of Tsawwassen pay for that project, which we estimated at around $40 million. Yet, they accepted that it was well over $30 million up in North Delta for the rec centre redevelopment and the new performing arts centre,” said Harvie.

“I was very upset over that, because we are one city. If council keeps acting like there’s a north and south, it’ll never get solved, but this council will be acting like there’s just one city,” he said.  

Harvie also noted he is looking forward to the city’s issues being recognized at Metro Vancouver, particularly when it comes to the environment, as well as TransLink.

“We made some strides working together with the Mayors’ Council and together with the directors of Metro Vancouver and I will continue to work as a partner with all the mayors,” he said.

Harvie noted that over the past four years they’ve also built good relationships with several members of Surrey Council who were re-elected including Brenda Lock, which is important when it comes to the future of the Scott Road corridor.

He added he’s eager to roll up his sleeves and get back to work.