Independents Working for You mayoral candidate Jim Cessford speaks with supporters at the slate’s campaign launch event on June 19, 2018. (James Smith photo)

Delta mayoral candidate Cessford listening rather than speaking, for now

The former DPD chief and his slate are engaging the public to inform their eventual platform

So far in the lead up to this fall’s civic elections, voters haven’t heard much in the way of formal announcements from mayoral candidate Jim Cessford and his Independents Working for You slate.

While the other mayoral hopefuls have made numerous campaign promises and pledges since announcing their intentions to run, things have seemingly been quiet in Cessford’s camp.

But the former DPD chief and his running mates have been busy door-knocking and attending community events in all corners of Delta as part of what he said is a deliberate effort to engage voters one-on-one in order to deliver a platform that best addresses residents’ biggest concerns.

“What was very clear from people is they were saying that first off, we [as a city] don’t have a plan, we don’t have a vision for Delta. There’s community plans and there’s business plans, but we don’t have an overall plan or vision for where we want to go with Delta, with relation to parks and recreation, in relation to traffic, in relation to development and a whole lot of areas,” Cessford told the North Delta Reporter.

“What I heard people say was the current council and city hall were not listening, that it was very top-down, a more autocratic style, and what people had said is that they didn’t feel they were being listened to and they wanted to be more involved with the decision-making.”

Referring back to his experience with strategic planning during his tenure as head of the Delta Police Department, Cessford said the key to effective leadership is having meaningful stakeholder engagement.

“You have to engage the public and you need to listen to the public, you need their input. It’s easy for me to say, ‘well I think these are what the issues are,’ but I need to hear what you think those issues are. So we went out and we listened,” he said. “We’ve talked with so many people and we’ve heard what people have got to say, and we’re in the process now of putting together our platform and our priorities based on what we heard from the community.”

RELATED: Retired Delta police chief Jim Cessford to run for mayor

Among the key issues Cessford said residents identified as being important to them were public safety, library and recreation facilities, traffic and the Massey Tunnel replacement, housing choices and affordability, and support for seniors.

“We want to provide community leadership by listening, by being open and transparent, by being inclusive and responsive and then acting, and we want to do that in the best interest of community health and safety, and happiness is really important too,” he said.

Although the slate’s platform is still a work-in-progress, Cessford did offer one idea he said will likely make the cut: developing a “city action centre” to receive, process and respond to residents’ complaints and concerns.

Building on the Delta Police Department’s policy of “no call too small,” Cessford said the department would provide residents with a guaranteed voice on the other end of the phone whose job it is to record their complaints, forward it to the city manager and relevant department heads, then ask for a response. If serious enough, issues would be forwarded to Delta council.

Throughout the process the centre would remain in touch with the complainant and make sure they are kept apprised of any developments.

“What happens sometimes, and I know it happened at the police department, you’ll call them and want to talk to major crimes, as an example. Well, the line may be busy and so you’re put on hold, and you get frustrated and you don’t go through with the call,” Cessford said. “At least this way we can record your concern, pass it on and have them respond back to you and make sure that this concern has been looked after.”

“It’s not enough to hear the complaint, it’s important that no voice [is] too small. If you’re concerned about the swing at this park, we need to listen to you, we need to hear what you’ve got to say, and we need to act on it. So that would be something that we will be implementing for sure as part of our [platform] to make sure that we are listening to people and we’re acting on their concerns.”

The civic elections take place on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, with advanced voting opportunities on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.

SEE ALSO: 26 candidates and counting for Delta civic election



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey couple donates $250K to students in honour of late son

Joseph Chung Scholarship Fund helps out 100 post-secondary students

Surrey RCMP investigate report of explosion at home

‘Emotionally elevated’ person taken ‘safely’ into custody: police

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Plans for apartments on Strawberry Hill shopping site coming to Surrey council

It would be near the library, and include 123 rental units

Man killed in fall from 3 Civic Plaza balcony in Surrey

Heavy emergency services presence in plaza at the skyscraper, at 13475 Central Ave.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read