Delta mayor takes middle road on transit referendum

Lois Jackson denies she's the fourth No mayor and is in neither camp on the Metro Vancouver sales tax vote

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson says she's neutral in the Metro Vancouver transit tax referendum.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson won’t say how she has voted in the transit tax referendum but she rejects suggestions she is now on the No side.

Delta council decided against financially supporting the Yes side and instead requested public feedback. It found 60 per cent of the 200 respondents indicated they’d vote No, while 10 per cent leaned toward Yes and 30 per cent were undecided.

Jackson’s neutral stance has led some other Metro mayors to conclude she is now the fourth ‘No’ mayor in their ranks, joining West Vancouver’s Michael Smith, Burnaby’s Derek Corrigan and Maple Ridge’s Nicole Read in opposition to the proposed sales tax increase.

“No, I’m straight down the middle,” Jackson said in an interview. “I think it’s up to the people to decide what they want. In my community, people don’t appreciate being told how to vote.”

RELATED:Referendum Questions seriesInteractive timeline of TransLink’s financial challenges

Basic information on the plan and the plebiscite went out to Delta residents with utility bills at a cost of $5,000 to the municipality. In contrast, Vancouver, Surrey and New Westminster councils are spending up to $200,000 each to bolster the more than $6 million in Yes promotion by the mayors’ council.

Jackson was absent for the vote on the Metro mayors’ transit vision last June, saying later she supported it, and voted last December to go to referendum on the 0.5 per cent regional sales tax.

The Delta mayor said she is not recanting that vote.

The proposed sales tax option was the best choice available to the mayors compared to other sources such as a vehicle levy, she said.

“I believe the plan is probably the best plan that we can find at the moment,” Jackson added.

Jackson said the Yes side has been hurt in Delta by opposition from other Metro mayors to the province’s plan to replace the Massey Tunnel with a new bridge – broadly supported in Tsawwassen and Ladner – and by TransLink’s refusal to reinstate direct buses to Vancouver that now connect to the Canada Line instead.

While there’s little in the plan for Delta, Jackson noted most of her city’s residents travel elsewhere in the region and improvements in other cities will help them get to their destinations.

She acknowledged the broad opposition to a new tax but said she hopes her constituents carefully consider the issues from both a local and regional perspective.

“The downside of not having a Yes vote is that it will be a long, long, long time before we get anything else. I hope people consider this when they’re voting.”

Jackson said she believes the public would be more supportive today if all the mayors’ deliberations about crafting the transit plan and which tax source to use had been thrashed out openly, and not behind closed doors.

Just Posted

‘A labour of love’: High school turns into ‘toy shop’ for Surrey Christmas Bureau

Fraser Heights Secondary has been making toys for the non-profit for more than a decade

Oppal says Surrey mayor wrong about policing transition timeline

Chairman of committee overseeing Surrey’s transition from RCMP to city police says work won’t be done by Dec. 11

White Rock waterfront strategy ‘pop-up’ session to be held tomorrow

Event to take place at museum from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Farnworth says Surrey RCMP boss’s statement on budget should be taken ‘seriously’

Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald warned Surrey’s budget will have “detrimental effect” on policing

LETTER: If recall mechanism existed, Surrey’s mayor would be gone in heartbeat

McCallum and cronies are out of control, won’t listen and are in dereliction of their duty

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read