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Mayor George V. Harvie Inauguration Address - November 5, 2018

Nov 06, 2018

It is a privilege and an honour to stand before you today as Delta’s new Mayor. It has taken a tremendous amount of work and team effort to arrive at the Council table tonight and I am grateful for the trust this community has placed in me.

I would not be standing before you tonight without the tremendous support of my family. To my wife and best friend Gillian, son Tim and daughter-in-law Davinder, granddaughter Ronia, daughter Taryn and partner Mathew, sister Colleen, sister and brother-in-law Susan and Knute, and my extended family the Chahal’s. Major, Kal, and Tony thank you for your never-ending support.

I would like to congratulate the members of Council – those who are returning and those who are joining us for the first time. You are taking on one of the most important jobs public life has to offer and I’m looking forward to working with you.

We are especially honoured to welcome former Mayor Lois E. Jackson back to the Council table. Under Mayor Jackson’s leadership we have seen Delta grow and prosper into the incredible city we know today. Our task as a new Council, and my personal commitment to you, is to preserve and build upon this outstanding legacy.

I am very excited for the next four years, working with Council to make positive changes planned for our community.

These changes will focus on our election platform that was greatly supported by Delta voters.

  • Keeping taxes low and Delta debt-free
  • Working to keep our young families and seniors in Delta
  • Investing in new sports fields, tracks, and recreation facilities
  • Keeping Delta safe
  • Holding every other Council meeting in North Delta
  • Achieving a replacement of the George Massey Tunnel

Our first task as Council, at our Business Plan Workshop in early January, is to set a 2019 Annual Budget and Financial Plan for our term of office. 

This will set the groundwork for the next four years and will take Delta to a new level of excellence. I am committed to keeping taxes low, keeping Delta debt-free, and putting the needs of Delta’s residents first.

Some of the key issues I will be asking Council to support taking immediate action on include:

ACHIEVING A REPLACEMENT OF THE GEORGE MASSEY TUNNEL


Throughout the election campaign, I knocked on thousands of doors and spoke with residents across Delta and the number one issue I heard was the tunnel congestion.

I know we are united as a Council on the need for a new bridge to replace the aging, vulnerable George Massey Tunnel. We will take bold steps to move this forward - to bring enhanced transit to Delta, improve safety, protect the environment and agricultural land, and plan for future rapid transit.

I have already reached out to the provincial government including talking to the Honorable Premier John Horgan, Minister of Transportation Claire Travena and other Metro Vancouver recently elected Mayors. I have also discussed with our Member of Parliament, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough regarding having discussions in Ottawa, early in 2019 regarding the importance to Canada’s economy of ensuring a sustainable Highway 99 crossing of the Fraser River with no interruption to this vital Federal, Provincial and Metro Vancouver goods movement corridor.

KEEPING DELTA SAFE


Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Delta Police and Fire Departments, Delta is one of the safest places in Canada. To ensure we maintain this high standard, I will be asking for Council’s support on establishing a Public Safety and Community Issues Committee.

This Committee will work closely with Delta Police and Fire Departments and Community Service representatives to help guide city initiatives on keeping Delta safe, assisting community service organizations on helping those members of our community who require assistance.

This Council will support families and individuals struggling with mental health issues and addictions. We want to have services here in Delta for our residents.  We commit that those Delta families that need help for their loved ones will not be left alone.  

To protect Delta’s most vulnerable residents, this Council will work closely with the renewed school board to ensure that at-risk youth are protected and educated early on the dangers of drugs, gangs and violence.

WORKING TO KEEP OUR YOUNG FAMILIES AND SENIORS IN DELTA


Young families and seniors are leaving Delta. Not because they want to – they are being pushed out by a lack of affordable housing choices.  I will be asking Council’s support on moving forward with a complete housing plan that looks after everyone: our youth, seniors, and the most vulnerable.

We want to keep generations together by working with housing agencies, senior governments and developers to invest in the housing we need in our communities.

To support our housing plan, we are taking immediate steps to streamline municipal processes to reduce timelines to get projects completed faster and more affordably.

We will work with local builders to identify opportunities for development in town centres and priority areas such as Scott Road and the Ladner Waterfront. And we will do this while protecting our agricultural land and the character of Delta’s neighbourhoods.

INVESTING IN NEW SPORT FIELDS, TRACKS AND RECREATION FACILITIES


Many Delta residents want to be fit and active and want their kids to have the best opportunities for sports here in Delta. With Council’s support at the January, 2019 Business Plan Workshop, we will structure a four year financial plan that will invest more in Delta’s sports and recreation facilities, including turf fields, running tracks and other outdoor activities that encourage fitness and social health.

Working with a refreshed Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission, they will be asked to provide Council with recommendations for an implementation plan to:

Expand and enhance pickle ball facilities to support this rapidly growing sport. We are planning to provide 28 dedicated pickle ball courts at 11 parks throughout Delta in the next four years.

Establishing a Delta Families First policy so that Delta residents have better access to our sports, recreation and culture facilities and programs.

The Delta Families First policy will include:

Delta residents having a two-week window to register first for civic programs, expanding from the current three-day window.

Ability for Delta residents having lower fees for recreation programs and services than non-Delta residents since they are already paying for these services through property taxes.

Establishing new off-leash dog parks in South and North Delta that will be fenced and lighted for nighttime use.

We hear so much about social isolation these days. At Delview Park in North Delta, there is a popular gathering place where people like to socialize. Council will be asking the Commission for a design to replace the decaying, outdated shelter facility. Delta needs to replace this facility now.

Our refreshed Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission will be asked to provide recommendations for implementing much needed programs for our young families in Delta.

A nurse led Baby Daze program, which provides important post-natal support and advice from qualified professionals.

A daycare program to support our young families.  We discussed this issue many times with young Delta families during the election. With the cost of renting and housing requiring both parents to work, we need to do more to help our young families stay in Delta.

Finally, it is time this Council and the renewed School Trustees work together to see the School Board owned tracks and sports fields are brought under the City’s responsibilities. This will allow our field sports to expand without having to create new parks. Most importantly it will have all revenues from the provincial government be spent in the classroom rather than outside it. I look forward to achieving this and making Delta stronger.

Tonight, I have presented my priorities as Mayor and working with Council I look forward to achieving these results for Delta.

Thank you for attending tonight and for your commitment to our community.

Now it is time for me to get to work.