BY RAVI KAHLON
NDP MLA for Delta-North
IT’S been an amazing year as MLA for North Delta. Our office has been busy and I have learned so much from residents who have shared stories of our community, as well as their hopes for our future. As the municipal election draws near, I’m reflecting on themes that have emerged from these conversations with residents and what I believe our new mayor and council for Delta should focus on.
Housing development needs to be done thoughtfully and with transparent and inclusive public consultation. I have heard many heartbreaking stories of seniors and young families being forced out of our community because of the lack of affordable housing. We need an innovative approach and vision for building communities that allow for people in all stages of life to continue to live in Delta.
Delta cannot have different policies for North Delta, Ladner and Tsawwassen. The new mayor and council must come forward with a clear vision on how policies will be streamlined and how new development will be affordable for all of our residents.
Decisions cannot be made in isolation or in backrooms. Broad public consultation is essential to ensure that community amenities for development projects meet the current and future needs of residents.
(Community benefits that developers provide upon approval for projects cannot be done backrooms and must happen in consultation with the public to ensure that it addresses what the community needs.)
Strengthening community ties
Our new mayor and council must commit to strengthening our volunteer and community organizations. Whether its Lions clubs, sports leagues, arts groups or conservation societies, these civic groups are important fabric of our community and need our full support. Not only do these groups provide critical services, they also create spaces and opportunities to bring us together.
As the Lower Mainland continues to grow, diversity is our reality. We must continue to build on Delta’s strengths as a welcoming and inclusive community to live and work in. Indeed, our economic future and social fabric depends on it.
Affordable childcare for families will require leadership and collaboration at the municipal, school board and provincial levels. It’s my hope that whomever is elected will commit to work cooperatively to increase options for young families living in Delta.
Delta also has an opportunity to re-imagine our public spaces, and to revitalize our parks, plazas, markets and public buildings as places that can become the heart of our community.
The best services and programs are designed with residents, not for them. We need to ensure that our services continue to reflect the needs of the people who live here, but also those who will be living here in the coming years.
The list of mayoral and council candidates running this election is impressive, and I look forward to working with whomever wins to build on our strengths. Delta is a vibrant and desirable community and with new vision and leadership, we can continue to grow to a strong and stable future.