Delta Mayor Lois Jackson goes through civic election unopposed

DELTA — Delta’s longtime mayor will be back for one final term.

Nobody else filed to be a mayoralty candidate in next month’s civic election by Friday’s deadline, which means Jackson is automatically in as mayor.

It’s a rather big surprise for the mayor who has always had to campaign and deal with challengers on her many years on council.

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked as the British say. I’m very surprised,” said Jackson.

“On one hand, I’m very gratified how people support me, but on the other hand I say this is supposed to be a democratic society and everybody should be challenged.”

First elected in the early 1970s, Jackson has served continuously on Delta council expect one term. She was elected mayor in 1999, the last time Delta council saw a significant turnover.

She faced a variety of challengers for her job in the following four elections including some high profile names, but has always come out on top, thanks in large part to her dominance of the polls in North Delta.

The 2011 civic election saw Jackson challenged by former councillor Krista Engelland and then councillor Heather King, as well as resident John Meech.

The longtime North Delta resident finished with 43.17 per cent of the vote that year.

As far as nobody else giving it a shot this time around, Jackson said it’s unusual for any Lower Mainland city election.

When she first ran in 1972, Jackson campaigned for “orderly, planned quality growth patterns” and “preservation and production of agricultural lands” to become the first female elected as a Delta alderman.

She’s seen many changes in Delta since then and has been at the helm for many significant issues.

In addition to wanting to be around one more term to see the municipal debt fully paid off, she wanted to deal some rather huge challenges facing Delta. Those include the construction of George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge, working with the business communities of Ladner and Tsawwassen to help them make adjustments to deal with the coming competition from the Tsawwassen First Nation malls, as well as working with her Surrey counterparts to address transportation and transit concerns in North Delta.

“We’re moving ahead as a new community that has never been really recognized in the Lower Mainland as having a very high status, but now we are. When you look at it, we’ve got the port, the ferry, the airport, we’ve have Annacis Island, Tilbury Island and industrial areas, so many things we’re working on in terms of creating jobs and good places for people to live and work and play. We’re going to try to make that even better,” she added.

A political survivor, Jackson’s slates have always managed to hold the majority on council since she’s been mayor. Although she will be acclaimed this year, that doesn’t mean she won’t be on the campaign trail as she will be out supporting her fellow Delta Independent Voters’ Association candidates Robert Campbell, Ian Paton and Rod Binder.

Jackson also served for several years as Metro Vancouver’s chair.

In 2012 she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, due in part to her many years of service and accomplishments on municipal government.

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