Delta’s firefighters endorsed Mayor George Harvie’s bid for re-election as his slate announced the first pillar of its campaign Tuesday evening.
Both announcements came as part of Achieving for Delta’s North Delta campaign launch on May 31, exactly one week after the mayor announced his full roster of candidates at a similar event at Tsawwassen Springs.
Delta Firefighters Local 1763 president Mike McMillan said the union is proud to fully endorse the mayor’s bid for a second term, citing Harvie’s leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic as well as his dedication to making sure the fire department has the funding it needs.
“Over his long career with the City of Delta, Mayor Harvie has been an unequivocal supporter of Delta Firefighters,” McMillan told a packed house at the Crown Palace Banquet Hall. “Mayor Harvie has always been there for us when we needed it, and tonight, we are standing here to support him.”
McMillan’s endorsement follows endorsements from sitting Delta city councillor Bruce McDonald and school trustee Laura Dixon, who last week announced they would not be seeking re-election and threw their full support behind Harvie and his Achieving for Delta slate.
The union’s endorsement also came moments after Harvie announced public safety as the first pillar of his re-election campaign.
“There is nothing more important than safety, and as your mayor I am committed to doing everything that I can to keep Delta safe,” Harvie said.
As part of his “Achieving Safe Communities” pillar, Harvie committed to moving forward with the procurement of a much-needed specialized watercraft to support emergency response operations on local waterways, as well as funding additional training resources for Delta firefighters and police officers.
“I am so proud of our Delta firefighters and Delta police officers. They are the envy of Metro Vancouver, the province and Canada. Our first responders keep us safe each and every day,” Harvie said.
“While other cities are cutting their emergency services budgets, as mayor I will always support our first responders.”
As well, Harvie would continue to work with provincial authorities to divert more emergency calls in Delta to local responders in order to save lives, building on the work he has done since being elected in 2018 to advocate for localized emergency response to ensure that paramedic staffing shortages at the provincial level do not affect overdose and other critical emergency response times.
“Thanks to long-term investments in public safety, Delta continues to be recognized as one of the safest communities in Canada, with one of the lowest crime index scores in the Lower Mainland,” Harvie said. “We continue to invest in our police and fire services, but there is more to do.”
Harvie plans to lay out a comprehensive platform over the coming months that will “focus on low taxes, safer communities, keeping families and seniors together, and achieving investment for a more livable and climate-resilient Delta,” according to a press release.
In his speech Tuesday, Harvie alluded to priorities such as more housing options for young families and seniors, taking action against hatred and discrimination, and taking steps to protect the environment and fight climate change, including by planting over 1,000 trees per yer.
Specific to North Delta, Harvie said the city desperately needs to move forward with the renewal of Scott Road, and he committed to working with service groups to establish a much-needed food bank in the community.
“No child should go to bed hungry,” he said. “We have to do more, and we have to do better.”
Harvie also vowed to keep taxes among the lowest in Metro Vancouver.
In his speech last week, Harvie also committed to moving froward with the much-needed revitalization of the Winskill Aquatic Centre and adjacent fields in Tsawwassen, as well as upgrades to replace the gravel field in Ladner’s Cromie Park. He also pledged to work with the school board to replace the aging track at Delta Secondary School.
“When this journey is over, I want to look back and say that I did everything that I can to give my grandchildren the opportunity to thrive in our community,” Harvie said Tuesday.
To date, Harvie and his Achieving for Delta slate are the only candidates to announce their intentions to run.
At least three new councillors will be elected in the coming election, with McDonald and councillors Dan Copeland and Lois Jackson, both of whom ran with Harvie in the last election, not seeking another term in office.
There will also be at least three new faces on school board, with Dixon not seeking re-election and current trustees Daniel Boisvert and Jessie Dosanjh running for council.
The municipal election will be held on Oct. 15.