South of the Fraser, there hasn’t been a lot of change at Delta City Hall for a few decades. Mayor Lois Jackson first served on Delta Council in 1972, and the 1999 election saw her become the second woman to serve as Mayor.
Mayor Jackson is an affable, intelligent woman who has strong beliefs and has fought hard for her constituency. No matter whether you agree or disagree with Ms. Jackson’s position or politics, she has proudly represented Delta for almost twenty years as mayor, attends myriads of Delta events and, despite her steadfast support for projects upon which we may heap what may be considered withering editorial critique (such as the Massey Bridge), Price Tags editors will sit down for tea with her any time.
Her relinquishment of the Mayor’s chair in Delta promises to open up Delta’s future in myriad ways, as it has become a three-horse race between a popular former Police Department Chief, a just-retired City Manager wanting to step up into electoral politics, and a City Councillor known for her ability to work with others on principled solutions.
Former Police Department Chief Jim Cessford served in Delta for twenty years, knows the community well, and has sat on national boards but has no political experience. He has expressed that there is a disconnect between the City and the community, and would like to make municipal government more responsive to community concerns and issues.
Former Delta Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) George Harvie has made no secret of the fact that he wants to be Mayor. Having a former CAO run for Council may mean the city is run in the same bureaucratic way, but in Delta voters might think that is just fine, and want more of the same. Like many of Delta Council, Mr. Harvie lives in the new Tsawwassen Springs development. Mr. Harvie “has already made it clear he will campaign on a platform of building on Jackson’s accomplishments, and given her leadership was popular enough to result in six terms in office, it appears sound strategy”, as Ted Murphy wrote in the Delta Optimist.
Two-term councillor Sylvia Bishop has also announced her intention to run, and unlike the other two Mayoral candidates, she has stressed a more conciliatory approach to matters at the provincial, regional and municipal levels. Ms. Bishop has already committed to working to improve transportation and traffic flow in Delta, and also recognizes that the multicultural nature of Delta must be reflected more within the City’s many committees and boards. Ms. Bishop outlined housing choice, parks and public spaces as being important to steward and champion as mayor.
Between the ambitious Police Chief, the steady-handed CAO, and the mediative City Councillor, Delta has a good variety of choices for a Mayor to stick handle the city through the next four years.
Who they choose will likely reflect the desire of residents — a well known and popular personality, business as usual, or a more conciliatory, less rogue approach to positioning Delta in the region as a growing city within Metro Vancouver.