COLUMN: A Lot at stake on November 19

Elections are a time to talk about local issues, and how best to deal with them.

Elections are a time to talk about local issues, and how best to deal with them. Thus far, a good number of issues have come up in the three local elections underway.

In Delta, planning and the future look of North Delta and Tsawwassen have been hot topics. A debate among the four mayoral candidates last week revealed some clear  differences. Voters will have some tough decisions.

As one who does not live in Delta, but has closely observed its politics for the past 30 years, I remain puzzled as to why the Southlands property (formerly known as Spetifore) continues to dominate political discussions. There are so many other issues that are important in Delta, yet they rarely seem to get attention.

For example, North Delta is home to half of Delta’s population and has some major traffic challenges as a result of the growth of neighbouring Surrey. Yet the issue of how North Delta will develop, and what services will be offered to residents, doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Incumbent Mayor Lois Jackson, as a North Delta resident, has ensured that North Delta is not forgotten, but a great deal of her energy in past terms has gone into South Delta issues, such as Southlands, Deltaport expansion and the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty.

At one time, North Delta was the shopping destination for many Surrey residents, as development on the Surrey side of Scott Road was minimal. That is no longer the case. Does it have to stay that way?

In Surrey, mayoral challenger Ross Buchanan has asked some tough questions about council’s decision to build a new city hall in Whalley, to cement its position as the city centre. These are good questions, but it is important to focus on more than just the amount of money involved.

For years, Surrey has struggled to get the private sector to invest in Whalley. Part of the problem was the pattern of land ownership, but a big issue was that government wasn’t leading the way.

In fact, it was the provincial government which did the leading. First, it extended SkyTrain to Whalley.

ICBC bought Surrey Place and renamed it Central City, and a tower which now houses SFU was built. This was the single biggest impetus for private sector development in the area.

Only in recent years has the city come aboard, recently opening a new Whalley library. Now it is building a new city hall. It has also built a community centre and rebuilt Holland Park as a civic gathering place that was, most notably, the scene of amazing gatherings during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Then there’s White Rock, which long ago was Surrey’s Ward 7 until it broke away in 1957. The election there is a heated one, with no incumbent mayor running and a great deal of discussion revolving around whether Surrey and White Rock will eventually merge again.

Ultimately, that decision will be up to White Rock voters, unless the province intervenes. However, White Rock residents are right to think carefully about the future, because their city, just like Surrey and Delta, is one of the most desirable places in Canada to live.

How all three cities adapt to the intense interest by so many outside investors and prospective residents will be up to the new councils elected on Nov. 19.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health warns of possible COVID-19 exposure at Surrey hookah lounge

Health authority says exposure dates are July 31 to Aug. 2

Politicians want Surrey’s Civic Distinction Awards done ‘virtually,’ not postponed

City staff recommended they be put off to the fall of 2021 because of the pandemic

Illegal suite a concern for Cloverdale man

Despite a City-issued stop-work order, construction continues

Two new recycling trucks on the way for White Rock

Council approves higher cost to reduce operations yard problems

Surrey Mounties need help to find missing woman

Hasheena Mundie, 25, was last seen at about 4:20 pm on August 4, in the 16700-block of 61 Avenue

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

Three screening officers at Vancouver airport test positive for COVID-19

The public is not believed to be at risk of exposure

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Agreement between province, BC Hydro, First Nation, ends legal fight over Site C

B.C. will work to improve land management and restore traditional place names in areas of cultural significance

UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Stabbing at Killer’s Cove Marina in Harrison Hot Springs

Three suspects apprehended by Agassiz RCMP at the scene

VIDEO: B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote with head stuck in jar

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch first round bye with win

Bandits defeat Guelph 84-70, advance to the CEBL semifinals on Saturday

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Most Read