Sandeep Pandher is one of the Delta council candidates running in this month's civic election. Here are his responses to a questionnaire from the Optimist:
1. Bio – Tell readers a bit about yourself and why you are running for office.
We are raising our two children in Delta. We value our community, and opportunities that Delta provides for our family.
My passion and focus is for Delta to be a Leader compared to cities across Canada by – innovating to keep Deltan’s moving, building a family-friendly city, accelerating leadership on environment and climate action, while strengthening integrity and performance at City Hall.
2. Most pressing issue – What issue are you most passionate about and what action will you take on it?
I’m committed to advocating for actions to protect Delta’s unique and valued environment. I will
• Not support Terminal 2, or expansion of Deltaport Terminal beyond existing footprint.
• Support protection of ALR, environmentally sensitive lands, and Pacific Flyway.
• Support Delta’s active environmental groups and empower their actions.
• Support incentives that increase adoption of building energy efficiency standards, and green procurement policies for municipal spending.
• Develop collaborative multi-stakeholder process to upgrade local dikes.
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?
Renewal of our existing Delta housing stock is an emerging priority to meet growing demands for affordable housing options from a variety of user group needs. These include first time owners, young families, and seniors who are looking to downsize while continuing to live in Delta.
I would advocate for a consultative approach with residents at the neighborhood level to develop a vision and define the character of new housing renewal in their existing neighborhoods.
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?
Growing cannabis on ALR land, and in residential neighborhoods are both concerns raised by residents from public nuisance, health and safety perspectives.
Major cannabis grow operations on ALR lands should be mandated to have in place odour control technologies as a requirement for their business licenses.
Health Canada license holders above thresholds for personal consumption ie more than four plants should not be allowed cultivation in residential neighborhoods.
I support a limited amount of cannabis retail licenses be issued for locations across Delta that are selected in accordance with provincial and federal regulatory guidelines.
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?
A new crossing across the Fraser River to replace the existing Massey tunnel would be a transportation priority.
A majority of residents and businesses I have heard from are in favor of a new bridge as the preferred crossing type – however I remain open to reviewing engineering and cost analysis reports for alternate approaches.
I would focus efforts towards developing more constructive and collaborative relationships with neighboring municipalities and regional entities such as Translink. A change in tone would allow Mayor and Council to be more effective when advocating for regional transportation initiatives on behalf of Delta residents and businesses.
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?
Delta council’s approval of Gateway’s casino proposal has been a source of concerns that I have heard from residents during many conversations. The main concerns as highlighted by citizens are around the issues of public safety, criminal activity and money laundering.
When elected I would work collaboratively with residents, businesses, BCLC, provincial and federal governments to put in place a public risk management strategy that safeguards against criminal activities and money laundering.
Revenues accrued through Casino proceeds should be directed into a city general purposes fund that is to be used specifically for priority youth, seniors and housing initiatives as identified through consultation with local residents and businesses.