Simran Walia 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.
My name is Simran Walia. I live in Ladner and raise my two boys here. I actively volunteer and serve the community by serving as a commissioner on two committees in City of Delta - Parks, recreation and Culture Committee and Seniors advisory sub-committee. I am a Ladner Rotary member. I was one of the organizers of the first Pride picnic in Delta. I actively volunteer in PACs of the elementary and high school where my kids go to school. I have done QPR Suicide prevention training at UBC and am First Aid Level 1 certified. I am an IT manager by profession working in Richmond. I have two Bachelors’ degrees and I have completed a simulation program at UBC which trains future politicians. I have run various political campaigns. While serving on the committees in the city of Delta, I found $50 million worth of unfunded projects pending. There is so much work to be done and the decision to run for public office is because of my determination to make lives better for the residents of Delta. I want to give real voice to real people. I see so much room for improvement and lots needs to be done.
2. Most pressing issue – What issue are you most passionate about and what action will you take on it?
While there are many issues that are important, most pressing issue right now is housing. People need roofs over their head and this basic need is a challenge today. Rents are skyrocketing and homes are expensive. Various options for housing is a must. We need to start looking at this crisis with a whole new perspective and collaborate with the right stakeholders, the experts to come up with a 'Made for Delta' solution that works for people. Within first 100 days of getting elected, Team Delta and I are committed to have a housing summit where this will be achieved.
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 is growing and it is time we think of smart housing options to not only keep the young families who grew up here in Delta but also make room for people who desire to live in Delta and call it home. Seniors should have feasible options to downsize, low income families need to have affordable housing options. Plans to grow housing options has to be consistent with the character of the neighborhood and I will make sure it is considered at the decision table.
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?
I am a mother of two young boys and absolutely it is a concern, not only as a parent but also as a conscious citizen of delta. Adequate knowledge about Cannabis needs to be shared through town halls. I will vote for no retail stores for Cannabis sale in delta. Regulation has to be in place on how much farmland can be converted to greenhouses for cannabis growth.
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?
Farmlands are pride of Delta and protection of the farmlands is important to me. The only feasible option of crossing without compromising the farmlands is the bridge. When elected to public office, I will advocate for an option that is safe for people.
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 serve as a Commissioner on Parks, Recreation and Culture committee and we have around $50 million worth of unfunded projects that have not seen the light of day and more projects are coming. Casino revenues will be used to fund these long pending projects when I get elected to office. Safety of the residents is of utmost importance. I will take extra measures to enable Delta police to do their job even better and ensure the safety of the residents and that the quality of life doesn't get impacted.