Delta candidates talk to news discussion group

Three of the five hopefuls discuss a range of issue at library

Three of the five Delta South election candidates made their pitch at a meeting of the Tsawwassen News and Views group Tuesday.

Liberal Ian Paton, independent Nicolas Wong and Green hopeful Larry Colero talked about their platforms to around 30 members at the Tsawwassen Library, answering questions on a range of topics including some previously covered at recent all-candidates’ forums.

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On the question of affordable housing, Wong once again talked about properly reallocating the property transfer tax as well as eliminating corruption. Paton, using his experience on Delta council, talked about taking a close look at zoning where higher density can work, noting the difficulty in getting new zoning in place in parts of Tsawwassen during the last area plan update. The Southlands will eventually bring 950 new units but, on the other hand, too much density was approved for the final phase of the Marina Gardens buildout, so he voted against that one.

Colero noted his party has a plan to increase the affordable housing supply but more data on who is buying up homes is needed. Controlling the demand, which means curbing foreign ownership, is part of the solution, he said.

On the question of health care and the role of Delta Hospital, Paton, reminding the group of his family’s long connection with the facility, was enthusiastic about the hospital today, saying it’s doing well with longer operating hours, a cast clinic, the arrival of an orthopedic surgeon from Nova Scotia and other additions. Colero talked about his party’s belief in focusing on disease prevention but also noted Delta Hospital needs full acute care. He said it’s difficult to look at just one aspect of health care in isolation of many other factors.

“My concern is if the government gets too used to having private donors fund all of our health care services, they’re really abdicating responsibility. I think we have to be clear that private donors can fund enhancements but not fundamental services,” he added.

Saying Delta needs a fully restored and functioning hospital, Wong spoke of the need to expand alternative levels of care. All three agreed that it would be a great benefit to utilize nurse practitioners.

When it comes to the new bridge and capping tolls, Colero said it would be fundamentally unfair to have a cap, while much of the $4 billion that will be spent on the bridge could be used to improve transit. Wong agreed that a solution was needed for the corridor but the public hasn’t been given the opportunity for a reasonably informed decision. He also described the Liberal promise to cap tolls as a “bit of a lark.”

Paton, saying the bridge has been determined as the best solution, described those pushing for a twinning of the current tunnel as “arm chair engineers.” He also noted people in Western Canada aren’t used to the concept of tolls even though they’re in place most elsewhere. He added he’ll also fight for light rapid transit to cross the new bridge into Delta.   

All three cited their volunteer experiences when asked how they made a personal difference in the community.

Bruce Reid with the NDP and Errol Sherley with the BC Action Party are also running in South Delta.

The candidates are to square off again with more debates this week including one this Saturday at Tsawwassen United Church at 2 p.m.

The provincial election takes place May 9.

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