It's about five weeks until the municipal election, so I wish to discuss items of public policy that should be campaign issues. In my last column I noted that, under the current mayor and council, Delta's operating expenses are increasing at about 9.5 times the rate of general inflation. In this column I wish to discuss the Tsawwassen Area Plan process, and its implications for the upcoming election.
If you go to the Corporation of Delta website and do a search for the Tsawwassen Area Plan, nothing recent or relevant comes up. This generally conforms to the rest of the process.
Councillors Bruce McDonald (of North Delta) and Heather King (of Tsawwassen) were appointed chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the area plan committee, which was tasked with having the planning department prepare a draft plan and obtaining public input to it.
Residents will recollect the many public meetings that were "facilitated" to avoid discussion of major planning issues; followed by the flawed Internet poll in which "yes" responses were counted as "no" ones, and vice versa.
Having lost all credibility, Delta then engaged Ipsos Reid to conduct a general opinion poll. Since the poll results didn't correspond with the agendas of the committee or council, the results were subsequently discounted with the specious argument that not every resident had responded.
At the council meeting of Sept. 13, 2010, McDonald and King moved to send the flawed draft area plan to a public hearing. It was fiercely opposed at the public hearing on Oct. 26 and 27, 2010, so the mayor shut the public hearing down and abandoned the plan at the council meeting of Nov. 8.
A revised plan was presented on Feb. 11, which was also not received well by the public as it involved rezoning most of central Tsawwassen into row housing.
Unfortunately space does not allow recounting the area plan events since then in this column.
The current mayor and council, and particularly the area plan committee, developed a Tsawwassen Area Plan that obviously didn't reflect public opinion, then used a specious and devious public input process to advance it, all at the cost of about $100,000 and thousands of wasted hours of the public's time.
Components of the draft plan that were adopted did not correspond with public sentiment expressed in the Ipsos Reid poll. The Southlands issue has mutated from retention of existing zoning, to inclusion in the ALR, to considering a development application (after the election, of course).
On the planning side, the residents of Tsawwassen cannot trust this mayor and council; there is every indication they have an agenda that differs from current public opinion. The public should demand a clear position on Tsawwassen planning issues from every candidate for mayor and council.
Further, McDonald and King are the chair and vice-chair of the area plan committee, respectively. King is running for mayor and McDonald is running for re-election as a councillor. On the basis of their records administering the deplorable and wretched area plan process, I conclude that Delta residents, and especially Tsawwassen residents, should not vote for either of them.