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Delta council candidates share their top issues

The Reporter asked candidates to identify top issues for voters and say how they’ll address them
Thirteen candidates are running for Delta council: (top row, from left) Maha Balakumar, Rod Binder, Daniel Boisvert, Duncan Callander and Jessie Dosanjh; (middle row, from left) Alicia Guichon, Julien Jacques and Jennifer Johal; (bottom row, from left) Moneca Kolvyn, Dylan Kruger, Brian Read, Stephan Sun and Pamela Swanigan. (submitted photos; Duncan Callander photo by James Smith)

Nearly three dozen candidates are vying for residents’ votes as the race for Delta mayor, council and school board enters the home stretch.

Next Saturday, residents will head to polls to elect a mayor, six city councillors and seven school board trustees to a four-year term in office. Thirty-one candidates — three for mayor, 13 for councillor and 15 for school trustee — are running in this election, a dozen fewer than the 43 who ran for office in 2018 (six for mayor, 20 four councillor and 17 for trustee).

General voting takes place on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.. For a list of places to vote, visit

Regardless of who wins, both city council and school board will look very different after the election. Four of the six current councillors — Dan Copeland, Lois Jackson, Jeannie Kanakos and Bruce McDonald — are not seeking re-election. Meanwhile, with Trustee Laura Dixon retiring from politics and current trustees Daniel Boisvert and Jessie Dosanjh pursuing seats on council, it’s guaranteed there will be at least three new school trustees.

To help readers get a better sense of candidates’ priorities, the North Delta Reporter asked each of them to tell us what, in their view, are the (three) biggest issues for Delta voters and how they will address those issues if elected. Candidates for councillor were given a limit of 200 words for their responses. Here’s what they had to say…

Maha Balakumar

The people of Delta must elect independent voices to the city council. Democracy works best when the council serves the people, not the needs of a party headed by the mayor.

Housing and rental affordability are central to the future of Delta. Affordable rentals and senior housing in particular are predicted to get worse in the immediate future. If you can’t own you rent, and if you can’t rent you become homeless, a problem we don’t want to see in Delta as in other cities.With limited land, gradual densification should continue with all types of housing choices. Bylaw amendments allowing re-development of smaller homes in smaller lots (Higgins project) is needed.

Senior well-being is also a concerning and passionate issue for me, having cared for seniors and served senior issues on boards, committees and at long-term care facilities. A comprehensive approach starting with living arrangements, physical and mental well-being, community services,and engagement with the community are paramount in this regard.

Mental health issues and substance use issues hide in the shadows for the most part in Delta. Health care in general has become a major concern for many residents in Delta. Although under provincial and federal jurisdiction, a vibrant and focused advocacy and lobbying by the city to leverage our resources for new and existing programs to have a home in our communities is warranted.

Rod Binder

(Achieving for Delta)

I have a deep understanding of Delta gained through many years of serving on several boards and committees in our community, including current positions on [the city’s] Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission, Deltassist, and the Delta Police Foundation. My intimate exposure to Delta’s recreational, development and social fabric has made me well equipped to tackle the emerging challenges facing our municipality, along with the rest of the Achieving for Delta team.

Delta continues to be recognized as one of the safest communities in Canada. However, in the face of growing traffic, gang and drug concerns across the Lower Mainland, only Mayor George Harvie’s Achieving for Delta team has the proven experience to navigate these complex challenges and ensure Delta stays one of the safest places to live, work and raise a family.

The Achieving for Delta team launched our public safety plan which includes protecting the independence of our Delta Police Department, investing in safe roads, cycling and pedestrian connections, keeping the Delta Police school liaison program in place and continuing to advocate for mental health and addictions resources.

The Achieving for Delta team is running on a six-point platform, learn more at

Daniel Boisvert

(Achieving for Delta)

As a lifelong Delta resident and Notary Public serving members of our community, I have a deeply personal understanding of local issues through my work with thousands of Deltans discussing matters related to their families and lives in Delta. This understanding has grown further through my role as a school trustee for the Delta board of education, where I am currently the vice-chairperson.

I know that with rising costs mounting from regional taxes and inflation, Delta families are keeping less of their hard-earned money. It’s never been more important to keep Delta’s taxes low,and only the Achieving for Delta team has the proven experience to stand up for Delta taxpayers during this critical time.

Leading up to and through the pandemic, Delta residents paid among the lowest taxes in the region. We are committed to keeping it this way, while continuing to invest in high quality services and infrastructure. We are running on a fiscal plan with specific spending priorities, including prioritizing safety services, investing in better roads and social services, while growing the local economy and positioning Delta as an innovation hub to grow our corporate taxbase.

The Achieving for Delta team is running on a six-point platform, learn more at

Duncan Callander

(Editor’s note: some biographical details included in the following submission were removed to meet the word limit.)

Duncan Callander immigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1951 at the age of 5.

I married my wife Terry in 1968 and lived in South Vancouver before moving to Ladner in 1970. In 1972 we moved to North Delta, where we have lived for the past 50 years. It is a wonderful community that I am proud to be a part of, a safe and friendly community in which we brought up our two children.

I would like to see our community continue to be a safe place to live.

My goals include:

• To keep taxes down

• Our emergency response teams up to date and able to respond in a timely manner

• Encourage people to move to Delta by providing affordable housing. Build smaller houses on the bigger lots, that was you may be able to get two or maybe three houses on these lots. That would also increased the tax intake.

• Upgrade our transit system so that it reaches more areas

• Scott Road is a very narrow corridor and extra care should be taken when planning new buildings

• To see our council meetings split equally North and South Delta and that the agenda for these meetings also be split equally

• More emphasis on senior awareness, including telephone fraud, senior bus service, and more advertising of services available and their abilities in our local paper

Jessie Dosanjh

(Achieving for Delta)

As a high-performance athletics coach, I have dedicated my life to providing youth with the skills they need to succeed in sports, education and as citizens of their community. Through my long-standing work in the community and as a Delta school trustee since 2018, I have seen firsthand the positive impact on our youth and the rest of the community when our community leaders prioritize keeping our community healthy and active.

We believe Delta’s young athletes — and all residents — deserve to practice and play on world-class facilities. If elected, we are committed to working together to rebuild the Winskill Aquatic Centre, resurface the tracks at Seaquam Secondary School and Delta Secondary School, install a second synthetic turf field at Mackie Park, put a cover over the outdoor pool at the North Delta Recreation Centre and advance the Cromie Park Master Plan, including the new indoor training facility in partnership with Ladner Minor Baseball Association. In addition, we will implement Delta’s Cycling Master Plan, invest in pedestrian connections, and build additional fenced dog parks in local neighbourhoods across Delta.

The Achieving for Delta team is running on a six-point platform, learn more at

Alicia Guichon

(Achieving for Delta)

As a fifth-generation farmer and small-business owner of Backroads Family Farm Market, I connect with residents on an everyday basis. Since I was elected in 2018, I have been an advocate for the interests of the agricultural and local business communities on Delta council. As a mother, I’m passionate about shaping the Delta of tomorrow and fostering a family friendly community for the next generation of Delta families.

A crucial part of securing this future relies on taking action on climate change and protecting our farmland. That’s why we’re moving forward aggressively with George Harvie’s Mayor’s Motion on Climate Action to get our city to net zero emissions by 2050. We are committed to taking measurable steps to reduce emissions, enhance biodiversity and build resiliency.

As a fifth-generation farmer, I know the importance of preserving and enhancing our agricultural land and strengthening farming for future generations in Delta. We will continue to engage with the Delta Farmers Institute and listen to the needs of farmers, advocate for infrastructure and rural road improvements, and promote local commodities and farmland initiatives. Our food security depends on this important work.

The Achieving for Delta team is running on a six-point platform, learn more at

Julien Jacques

The top issues that Julien will be tackling are:

Helping local small businesses by reducing licensing requirements and speeding up the approval processes. To support local small businesses, the City of Delta should be simplifying the processes for setting up a local shop.

With a focus on community first, the second issue Julien will focus on is in helping Delta citizens build financial stability for themselves and their family. This means building a municipal framework that helps renters get on the property equity ladder without removing those who are already on the ladder. Using novel financial instruments, we can lower the barrier to entry to get everyone owning equity in real estate.

Lastly, Julien believes in keeping our farmlands protected, our green spaces vibrant and accessible. Julien’s decisions will always be framed under the idea of “Community First”, ensuring that our neighbours are looking out for one another, and that everyone feels comfortable saying hello to each other on the sidewalk.

Jennifer Johal

(Achieving for Delta)

I am a mother, an educator and local businesswoman bringing an understanding of the Tilbury business community through my daily work helping to manage my family’s business, Raja Trailer. I am running for Delta council on a commitment to being a bridge between community members, business owners and their local government.

Our diversity in Delta, across age, race, religion, identity, culture, income and abilities, is what makes us strong. We need a council that not only listens to the people but is reflective of the diverse population it represents. It’s time to finally elect councillors who reflect the diversity of our community.

The Achieving for Delta team is committed to working with the Mayors Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism, established by Mayor George Harvie in 2020, to continue to find meaningful and tangible ways to affect change. We commit to continuing to hold every second council meeting in North Delta to ensure all residents have equal representation at the council table, and working with community partners to deploy an emergency food bank in North Delta. Our community groups must not be left to meet this need alone.

The Achieving for Delta team is running on a six-point platform, learn more at

Moneca Kolvyn

Speaking Independently for you — Moneca Kolvyn running for council.

I have owned a small business in Delta for 33 years, and been a resident for 17.

These last four years, I have seen my commercial property tax increase by 49.7 per cent.

I have seen public consultations completely ignored and the people’s will disregarded.

I have watched as this government annulled all commercial overnight parking in Annacis Island, and with that bizarre decision, crime has escalated.

I am eager to bring YOUR voice back to the table for the entire term — not just a week before elections.

I believe that permit wait times must be addressed, and it must be done immediately.

I am determined to restore democracy and report weekly to the residents, via a column in the paper if necessary.

Let’s bring choices back to the tax payers! Let’s bring back choices made in North Delta for North Delta!

Dylan Kruger

(Achieving for Delta)

In 2018, I became the youngest elected city councillor in the history of Delta. Over the last four years, I have been a strong advocate for local businesses, having served as Delta council’s liaison to the Delta Chamber of Commerce. As a new father, I am running on a re-energized commitment to improve livability in Delta and fight to keep young families in our community.

Delta was ranked by Maclean’s Magazine in 2021 as the best community in Metro Vancouver. The Achieving for Delta team has a plan to keep generations together in Delta and make Delta a livable and vibrant community where everyone feels welcome.

To ensure that we have a sustainable community moving forward, we need to continue to attract people to Delta from all ages and income brackets. We’re going to do that by supporting new and diverse housing stock in our community, continuing to advance projects that revitalize our community hubs and support our local businesses such as our expanded restaurant patios, and continuing to fight for urgently needed childcare spaces and support our seniors’ mobility and care.

The Achieving for Delta team is running on a six-point platform, learn more at

Brian Read

Three biggest issues for Delta from my perspective:

Affordable housing:

• we need to support smaller homes on smaller lots by subdividing properties allowing smaller frontages

• medium density (4-6 levels) in pocket areas with community-based small business surrounding it and on the street level — along with doctors, dentists, hairdressers — to allow seniors to downsize within the community and be able to walk to everything needed

• allow basement suites and/or coach houses to help house renters, but I would like to see vehicles off the streets because Delta streets are not wide enough and we need space for emergency vehicles. I don’t want to see a Clayton Heights situation

• high density in busier corridors with designated rental units

• permit times need to be shortened to allow the new builds

Encouraging/supporting small business:

• we’ve lost so many small businesses to COVID and many are still struggling to stick around

• we need to put out an advertising campaign to grow the small local business within Delta again before they’re totally gone

Public Safety:

• with the addition of housing and new development, it’s important to expand the emergency services we have within our community as they are already stretched thin.

Stephan Sun

My top issues that I seek resolutions for this election are as follows:

Rental Housing Crisis: I am a renter myself so more than anyone I understand and sympathize with not only how difficult it is to find a rental place but as well the increasing rent prices. I seek to be more proactive and create a lot more market-rate rental housing for those who are qualified to rent but just simply [have] no place to rent from.

Delta Police budget spending: While 99 per cent of the police officers I hold highest regards to, there’s always one bad apple in the bunch. I plan to not only reduce the police budget but to also put restrictions on it so no single police officer — whether the chief or down to a rookie constable — can spend the taxpayer’s money without the people’s representatives’ approval.

Delta Firefighters: I took a meeting with representative from our very own Delta Firefighters Association and heavy discussion involving establishment of the LNG ports and as well as the climate change. They’re stretched very thin and aren’t able to handle two major incidents at once since on average there’s only 35 firefighters on duty daily. I plan to table the discussion to move budget from other departments to make sure we save lives first.

BC Ambulance Service: Ambulances are managed at a provincial level and during the heat wave, Delta’s very own stationed ambulances were all pulled to help other municipalities, resulting very long wait times and causing unnecessary deaths in our city. Delta needs to work with the provincial government and other municipalities to ensure the safety and wellness of our residents. The City of Delta is not to be second-class citizens compared to other municipalities.

Pamela Swanigan

1) Sustainable development planned for future generations, not for maximum developer profit.

Planning must be based on long-range vision, wisdom, and stewardship. If not now, when?

Top priority must be on the ecology and liveability. If not in Delta, where?

We have salmon-bearing creeks. Thriving wetlands. The most important bird area in Canada. Miles of coastline. Three hubs that could be green, walkable, wonderful places to live.

And we’re ruining it all. Only one per cent of Delta is classified as undeveloped. Council is rubber-stamping the killing of almost 1,000 mature trees a year on private lots alone. There’s zero mention of the environment in Harvie’s housing plan, Kruger’s revitalization plan, or the Tsawwassen redevelopment proposal. Really? Really?

2) A democratic, responsive government.

Harvie has promised that if he gets re-elected, the business lobby will be run out of the mayor’s office. Hey, what about the rest of us? Don’t we count?

Kruger’s revitalization committee was composed entirely of cherry-picked developers and business owners — not a single regular citizen.

Council has railroaded through multiple developments in North and South Delta, against the clear wishes of the majority.

Patronage politics are taking root. We’ve got to stop this before it’s too late.

Click here to see what candidates for mayor and school board had to say.

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James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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