Independent candidates emerge for Delta council

Four more hats have been tossed in the ring, as Lori Mayhew, Peter van der Velden,  Johann Ackermann, and Ron Calliou have announced their respective candidacies for Delta council.

An independent, Mayhew is an 18-year resident of Delta and married mother of three. She said she’s eager to give back her community by serving on council and making sure Delta remains a welcoming and affordable place for families. Mayhew added she wants to see stronger interconnections between Delta’s various communities.

"From Ladner to North Delta, we’re one city. My kids play ball hockey and soccer games with kids from Tsawwassen, Ladner and North Delta. We rely on the same services and need our municipal government to deliver these services equally across our communities," said Mayhew.

She plans to spend the fall knocking on doors and meeting Delta residents at community events.

"As a city, we’re grappling with several issues, from how to do development sustainable while protecting our valuable agricultural land to advocating for more transit and a stronger voice in regional decisions. I want hear what Delta residents think about these issues and where their priorities lie," she said.

Mayhew said she would bring considerable financial management and governance experience to municipal hall as secretarytreasurer for the Canadian Office Professional Employees Union Local 378 (COPE 378). She is also the president of the New Westminster and District Labour Council.

Van der Velden, another independent, is a facility management consultant who has lived in Tsawwassen for five years. He has municipal council experience, having served one term in Silverton in the Kootenays.

He notes that while in that position he represented council as a director for the museum, the Watershed Alliance and the chamber of commerce.

Van der Velden says he sees the next term of Delta council as a pivotal four-year period in growth for Delta.

He feels the present council has not represented its residents well over some major recent issues such as thermal coal, radio towers and port expansion. While recognizing these issues are beyond council’s mandate, he says he feels council is not vocal enough in the protection of the interests of its communities.

As well, he wants to develop an action plan to protect local businesses from the effects of Tsawwassen First Nation mall development.

Van der Velden says he wants the Official Community Plan to be adhered to and ALR land to be protected from development.

He also says he’s concerned that council has a lack of discussion and that DIVA (Delta Independent Voters’ Association) has largely controlled the agenda. He wants more community dialogue on all major issues to make council more transparent and put it "back in community hands."

Van der Velden says he’s in communication with other candidates, hoping to form a collaborative to oppose DIVA.

Ackermann has been employed at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for 24 years and has lived in Delta for the last 22 years.

He and his wife Karen have two sons, both of whom have grown up in Delta. Prior to his work with CRA, Ackermann spent 14 years working in the banking and accounting industry, which he states gives him an excellent financial background.

Ackermann notes he has spent many hours as a leader and volunteer in the community and his time has been recognized and honoured with the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee medal. As a result of his time as a volunteer he is very familiar with the community and the issues.

Ackermann feels that all the communities of Delta deserve to be properly represented and heard. He feels that a lot of issues affecting the communities are not being given the exposure and discussion they deserve. Some of these issues are transportation and traffic problems in the whole community, coal trains, port expansion and how development in Delta is being handled.

Ackermann notes he firmly believes the Official Community Plan must be one that the community supports and that it be adhered to by council. As well, he feels that the Agricultural Land Reserve must be handled more effectively. He wants to ensure that there is better dialogue with all Delta residents and community-based businesses concerning any and all of these issues. He wants to be part of a new and progressive council that has integrity and transparency.

Ackerman is working with four other independent candidates to make that kind of leadership a reality for the residents of Delta.

North Delta resident Ron Calliou is the latest independent candidate to announce he’s running for Delta council in this fall’s civic election.

Calliou, who initially moved to Ladner from Northwestern B.C. in 1986, promises to be a strong voice for all three Delta communities.

Originally a chef before moving to the IT field, where he has worked for the same company at various positions for 17 years, he notes his leadership roles and experiences have given him the ability to focus on the needs of others and to be strategic on helping find solutions by listening to what really is at issue. Being in a role where you are focused on supporting and providing great service is something that can really translate into a successful candidate that the people can really get behind and support, he says.

Calliou says he has a number of objectives that he would like to achieve when elected, including an improvement of air quality regarding to the coal dust issue, having a fiscally responsible government, strong support for the farming community and making developers be more socially responsible to communities.

The nomination period for individuals to file their election candidacies at municipal hall ended Oct. 10. The election will be held Nov. 15.

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