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Mayor plots course for council

After being sworn in for fifth term, Jackson tabs transit, greenhouse gases and revitalization efforts as priorities

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson opened her fifth term in office Monday with promises to continue pushing for transit improvements, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and revitalizing Ladner Harbour and North Delta.

After being sworn into office along with the other members of Delta council elected last month, Jackson gave her inaugural address.

"What a distinct honour and privilege it is for me to be standing here before you this evening," she said.

Jackson took time to reflect on what was accomplished over the last term and touch on some of the plans for the coming term.

"Tonight we embark on a three-year journey together with staff and the citizens of Delta to preserve and protect the quality of life in this great municipality," she said.

"During the previous term of council, we initiated a number of projects and programs and as this new term begins we will continue to work on a number of those that need to be completed and look forward to new challenges, initiatives and opportunities facing our community."

Jackson said council is committed to reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by municipal facilities. Emissions are already down more than six per cent over 2007 levels and more changes are in the works, including retrofits to both the Ladner Leisure Centre and Sungod Recreation Centre to help push the municipality closer to its goal of a 20 per cent reduction by 2015.

Delta is also moving forward with implementing a food waste curbside collection program for singlefamily homes, she said.

"I know this program will be successful here in Delta."

Transit and transportation will continue to be a major issue for the new council.

"As your mayor, I will continue to push TransLink for improvements throughout Delta, particularly community bus shuttle service in neighbourhoods that currently lack transit service," she said. "Delta's public transit network is currently not living up to its potential."

Jackson said council would lobby for greater transit options and more frequent service.

Providing safer walking routes throughout the municipality is also going to be a priority for this council, Jackson said.

Starting next year, the Corporation of Delta will work to improve the sidewalk infill program by using a "holistic neighbourhood approach," Jackson said.

Ladner Harbour will also be a focus in the coming term. The mayor said Delta would continue to lobby the federal government for funds to dredge Ladner Harbour and other secondary channels of the lower Fraser River as well as progressing with the redevelopment of Ladner's waterfront. A proponent will be chosen prior to the new year, she said, to move that project forward.

Jackson committed to establishing an Invest in North Delta mayor's standing committee to work in conjunction with the area plan review process to revitalize that area.

She also said the municipality will be looking at establishing a committee to address seniors and social issues.

Jackson also announced the municipality is looking at making changes to decrease turn around times for permits and licences.

"Delta faces many challenges but by working together we can develop innovative solutions and ideas to the betterment of everyone in our community," she said.

jkerr@delta-optimist.com