Jeannie Kanakos is one of the Delta council candidates running in this month's civic election. Here are her responses to a questionnaire from the Optimist:
1. Bio – Tell readers a bit about yourself and why you are running for office.
Delta Resident for 38 years;
• Involved in community, sports and the Arts;
• M.A. SFU, + Certificate / Conflict Resolution, JIBC;
• 30 years experience in community development, negotiations.
I am seeking re-election to continue to serve our community. I am passionate about our quality of life and transparent, ethical governance. I am known for doing my homework, listening and working collaboratively.
2. Most pressing issue – What issue are you most passionate about and what action will you take on it?
Transparency: Unfortunately, there has been a breakdown in trust of information to Council and the Community. We must act with integrity and seek the truth. To address the situation, I have put forward a ‘Whistle-Blower Policy’; ‘A Freedom of Information Request’ on Enviro-Smart Compost Facility and a rollback of the ‘Golden Handshake’. For good governance on all community development, the Casino and recent major projects should be investigated for due process.
3. Housing – Delta’s housing stock, developed largely in the 1960s and 1970s, is under pressure. What are your plans to ensure there are affordable housing options and what will you do to protect the integrity of existing neighbourhoods?
Delta has lagged behind other communities in developing innovative approaches on Affordable Housing. This issue requires a multifaceted ‘fast track’ approach so that we can offer our residents affordable options ‘stay in Delta’.
1) Immediately Consult with the Community and Developers on Housing Options and Issues and update the Delta’s Housing Action Plan;
2) Bring forward best practices already being undertaken in other communities such as setting aside affordable rental units as part of apartment and townhouse developments;
3) Consider creative options and solutions for density such as the ‘Higgins Approach’ which was approved by Council and supported by the community to support an extended family to own their own homes within one lot;
4) Seniors, Young Singles, Young families, single parents all need options for housing and quick action needs to be taken to ensure options are available for a range of housing choices in the next four years.
5) Work with Advocates such as the Seniors Advisory Committees and the Housing Be Mine Society to address the housing needs of residents with Intellectual disabilities and seniors with low income.
6) Work with other levels of Governments – both provincial and federal to access funding and expertise in developing housing options for our Community.
Protecting the Integrity of Existing Neighbourhoods:
1) There is a balance needed when considering density and the integrity of neighbourhoods.
2) Issues of concern I have heard are: the general feeling and appeal of the neighbourhood, the presence of a tree canopy, privacy, and of course parking;
3) Public Hearings are held to allow residents to express to Council concerns regarding proposed new development;
4) I have a track record of listening and acting in a manner that respects neighbourhood integrity.
4. Marijuana – The legalization of marijuana in Canada has created a number of issues for local government. Do you have concerns over where cannabis could be grown and where it could be sold in Delta?
The legalization of marijuana in Canada October 17, 2018, will put significant pressures on local governments on many fronts. I have significant concerns regarding where it can be grown and where it can be sold in Delta. I recently attended the Union of British Columbia Municipalities Conference and met with the Minister of Agriculture and the Premier outlining Delta’s concerns regarding the production of cannabis on agricultural land which included: loss of farmland for the production of food and odour control issues.
Where Cannabis can be grown:
1) I will work with provincial, federal and other local governments to minimize the impact of cannabis production on Agricultural land in Delta;
2) In 2014, Delta Council unanimously prohibited growing cannabis on Delta owned lands.
3) In addition, public input, through a Public Hearing, will be sought on further restrictions (Bylaw 7795) on cannabis production within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The aim of both of these initiatives is to control cannabis production and to protect existing farmland for the production of agriculture.
Where Cannabis is sold:
1) I support limiting the retail sale of cannabis proposed by the provincial government, which is similar to the sale of alcohol.
2) BC has proposed a government run wholesale distribution model similar to other provinces. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch will be the wholesale distributor – with option of private retail sales similar to beer and wine stores;
3) Delta has not made a decision on the retail model for Delta and a Public hearing is planned to provide options for public input on the retail sale of cannabis in Delta
4) I will listen and respond to community input on the approach Delta should take on the retail sale of cannabis in Delta.
Community Information Sessions Needed:
As the legalization, production and sale of cannabis is a major complex initiative in our Community, I would recommend that a new Council consider hosting a series of community Information Sessions to outline the federal, provincial and local government roles and responsibilities as well as the actions and steps that Delta has taken thus far pertaining to the implementation of the legalization of Marijuana.
5. Lobby for bridge/crossing – The City of Delta has been an outspoken advocate for a new Fraser River crossing, specifically the 10-lane bridge approved by the former Liberal government. Would your administration continue to advocate for the bridge or do you support a different approach?
• Delta has advocated for a bridge as a replacement to the George Massey Tunnel traffic gridlock situation. This was based on engineering, environmental, economic and transit considerations.
• The current provincial government has reviewed this data and has produced a report, which is currently being assessed by the Ministry of Transportation.
• At the recent Union of BC Municipalities Conference, Delta Council met with the Minister of Transportation who indicated that – there is no funding for this project and that they will make public their Report – on the review of options for the Massey Tunnel Replacement Project after the municipal election.
• The previous provincial government intended to fund the project through tolling, while this provincial government does not support tolling.
• Funding the Massey Tunnel Replacement project will be one of the key challenges going forward.
• I will continue to advocate on behalf of Delta residents for a solution to one of the most congested highway locations in western Canada.
• I will advocate on behalf of Delta Residents for funding from the provincial and federal governments and the Port in partnership with other affected local governments.
6. Casino – Delta council’s approval of Gateway’s casino proposal was not without controversy. With construction poised to begin soon, what do you plan to do with casino revenues and what measures do you plan to take to ensure a casino isn’t a negative impact on the community?
• I don’t support the Casino in Delta, as it doesn’t fit with our values of family and healthy lifestyles.
• As of this date (October 1, 2018) the Casino has not received final approval from the British Columbia Lottery Commission.
• I am ever hopeful that the Attorney General will put a hold on this Casino until the Recommendations of the Peter German Report, ‘Dirty Money’ be fully implemented.
• My hope is that by then, Gateway and its owners will have moved on and that there won’t be a project in Delta.
• I remain concerned about the rushing of the approval of the project, the heartfelt negative response of the community and the prospect of bringing gang and criminal influences to Delta - especially Ladner and Tsawwassen.
• In terms of revenues for Delta - my aim would be to find funding equal to what Delta would have received from the Casino (not dirty money) – for needs in our community. I know that this is possible given the motivation and generosity of our Delta community.
• In terms of ‘ensuring that there isn’t a negative impact on the community – should the project be approved, I honestly can’t ensure that. That’s why I voted against it.
• The depth and breadth of the disappointment and concern I have regarding the approval of the Casino project is more and worse than anything I have experienced while serving in public office in Delta.
• I urge you to write to the Attorney General and the new Council and ask for the approval of this project to be revoked.
• I would like to thank the many Delta Residents who have spoken out and who have written to me on the proposed Casino Project.