As reported by Sandor Gayarmati in the Delta Optimist and obvious to anyone following Delta Council, there’s been growing disagreement between the Mayor of Delta, George Harvie, and Delta Councillor Lois Jackson, who was Mayor of Delta from 1999 to 2018 and actually started serving on Delta Council in 1972.
The Delta council dynamics are daunting~Mr. Harvie was formerly Delta’s city manager from 2002 to 2018, and of course was hired by Mayor Jackson’s council. When Mr. Harvie retired from his city manager job and then ran for Mayor, Ms. Jackson ran as a councillor on his campaign slate, saying she was going to act as an “elder” and also be Mr. Harvie’s guide on the side.
Municipalities unlike the Provincial and Federal governments still do not have a great deal of financial oversight, and that can be seen in the annual junkets to Ottawa and to Eastern Canada taken by Ms. Jackson, and last year by Mr. Harvie. In 2018 Lois Jackson’s contingent spent $40,000 for a few days in Ottawa and a few in Quebec, in part to plead for the Massey Bridge. Her Council also ponied up for Ms Jackson to go to Scotland to attend a bagpipe tattoo, as well as arranged remuneration for people leaving Council based upon years worked.
Former City Manager now Mayor Harvie went to Ottawa in the spring of this year for four days at a cost of $20,000 taxpayer dollars to deal with stuff that really could be dealt provincially and locally by the Province or local Member of Parliament.
Harvie also hired his friend Param Grewal who ran unsuccessfully for a Delta city council position on the same slate as Mayor George Harvie. Mr. Grewal is the “Director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs” on a six figure salary with no public posting of the position.
Harvie and Jackson appeared to be kindred spirits, so it was a surprise when Lois Jackson was booted off the Metro Vancouver board by Mayor Harvie right before the crucial vote last week for the Massey Immersive Tunnel approval.
Instead, Mayor Harvie appointed “veteran” Councillor Bruce McDonald to the Metro Board.
Ms. Jackson has been the outlier in the region, being the one voice continually arguing for the ten lane Massey Bridge proposed by the previous Liberal provincial government.
Ms. Jackson told the Optimist ““For the past 20 years we have been dealing with the appointment of Metro Vancouver directors and Fraser Valley (Regional) Library representative in January of a new year for the year. However our mayor has seen fit to bring it forward today which really means that I will be unable to make a presentation on Delta’s concerns to the Metro board this Friday because I am, of this moment, no longer able to attend those meetings.”
You can take a look below at Mayor Jackson announcing her 2014 bid for Mayor, where she outlines her priorities for Delta (the 10 lane bridge is one). She is flanked by Ian Paton, (who double dipped as a Liberal MLA and as a City Councillor) and former Councillor Robert Campbell.