Former mayor wonders about Delta’s future


I spent last night musing about all things locally rather than enjoying a healthy, rejuvenating sleep. This happens frequently to those of us who have enjoyed eight decades living in this place called Delta. One of those decades was spent as a member of Delta council with additional time for volunteer and fundraising services.

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I am among a few that have the unique perspective of Delta both pre and post George Massey Tunnel, a small, rural society with few neighbours south of the river later grappling internally with a massive increase in population while hemmed in by unchecked growth of neighbouring municipalities.  

Delta can hopefully solve its own problems but regional issues such as traffic and flood protection leave many of us feeling somewhat helpless. The initial traffic respite at the tunnel occurred in the early 1980s but few remember why or how.

Internally the current council appears to have taken a 180-degree turn on fiscal management. Former mayor Lois Jackson preached long and hard over spending and no debt with initiative and support from CAO George Harvie. Barely months later Mayor Harvie announces an $8-million expenditure for a North Delta track complex and $3.6 million to upgrade 8A Avenue in Tsawwassen. Nary a murmur or public expression by council members.

I can't help but think a better location for a recreational complex would be John Oliver Park in East Delta. Not only would it commemorate the life and contribution of Delta farmer John Oliver (who served as B.C. premier) but it’s centrally located between North Delta and Ladner and 10 minutes longer to South Delta.

I also wonder why 8A Avenue takes precedence over 52nd Street in South Delta or Trunk Road in Ladner, both facing gridlock from local population increases during peak rush hour.

I also wonder why Delta council had minimal public discourse over the casino, Delta's name change and council's golden handshake quietly handed over only to a select few council members. I wonder why they didn't include former mayor and councillor Beth Johnson for her 18 years of civic service?

My last wonderment is over climate change, the inevitable rising water level and billions of dollars required for Delta's and neighbouring dikes to meet the new 400-year flood proofing standards. Where is the plan?

I have other "wonderments" but about this time I fitfully fell asleep. I awoke refreshed, hopeful Harvie will oversee a more open and accessible council than what emerged over the past decade. 

Doug Husband     

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