***This press release has been edited to reflect a concern raised that these are the only millennial candidates running.
Home to some of the Lower Mainland’s best schools, facilities, and natural wonders, coupled with some of the region’s lowest property taxes, Delta is fast-becoming one of the most popular cities to live in.
But the growth of the city has not kept up with the demand, especially for those looking to rent, downsize, or enter the market for the first time – and Achieving for Delta’s millennial candidates are coming forward on the urgent need to elect council members who will ensure that young families and seniors don’t get left behind.
“Having lived here our whole lives, my wife Katie and I are looking forward to starting our family in Delta – but if something doesn’t change quickly, we’re not sure if a future here is possible,” said Dylan Kruger, one of six council candidates running on George Harvie’s Achieving for Delta slate. “Our friends are getting married, starting their families, and moving out of Delta to Abbotsford, Chilliwack, or even further because there’s nowhere affordable for them to live – and the local jobs and investments are following them.
“Now more than ever, we need to take bold action on keeping young families in Delta. That’s why I’m running for council under Achieving for Delta – it’s the only slate with a plan to put our young families and seniors first by providing more housing options from day one in office – because Delta’s young families and seniors can’t wait.”
At his campaign launch in May, Harvie announced his plan to “completely re-engineer” Delta’s building permit process with the goal of dramatically reducing timelines to get projects completed faster. Leveraging his extensive experience from 17-years in office as Delta’s City Manager, Harvie says this will result in less cost to the purchaser or renter and will allow the city to more quickly collect property taxes, which he has promised to invest back into Delta’s facilities, infrastructure, and vital community services.
According to Harvie, the plan goes beyond removing red tape and overhauling approval processes – it’s about working together with all stakeholders to re-imagine Delta’s housing market without compromising on Delta’s green spaces or agricultural land.
“I will ensure no one gets left behind by working with agencies such as Metro Vancouver Housing and the provincial and federal governments to ensure we fill the gaps: housing for renters, seniors, and young families working to enter the market,” said Harvie. “I will also work collaboratively with local builders to identify opportunities for housing development in town centres, where new residents will be situated in close proximity to local shops and restaurants, helping Delta businesses to thrive.”
While protecting the identity of Delta’s neighbourhoods, Harvie has also promised to ensure that homeowners who choose to provide a secondary suite to help offset housing costs can do so easily – a plan he sees as particularly beneficial for both young families and seniors.
“In my deep connections to our community, I can see that this problem goes so much further than young people -- a lack of housing options in Delta is driving entire families apart because our grandparents can’t find a place to downsize,” said Alicia Guichon, who is also running for council on Harvie’s slate. “Not only does this have an emotional impact – displacing our grandparents results in young families losing trusted child care, and it means we’re a bridge or tunnel away from caring for our aging loved ones when they need us most.”
As two millennial candidates standing for election in this race and the only two running on a slate, Guichon and Kruger have been raising issues of housing options, transit, and Delta's youth since May – something Harvie reflects on as an important contribution to the team.
“Since day one of this campaign, Alicia and Dylan have been passionate voices for Delta’s youth and young families, bringing bold ideas to the table with the goal of building an even brighter future for our city,” said Harvie. “We owe it to our next generation to elect them to a renewed Delta City Council where they can start making a real difference immediately.”