I had naively thought the issue was over only to find that the rhetoric is not. So, please, allow me to add my voice to the fray. This letter to the editor was sent to the Delta Optimist and not published.
I have never argued that the Southlands Development didn’t have interesting aspects to it. Aspects that would appeal to a good part of the community. I have always argued that this explosive issued needed to be handled in a transparent fashion and that there be no hidden agendas. Such was not the case. It really started with Mayor Jackson holding an in-camera (closed doors) session where she suggested to the developer that Delta would “entertain a proposal of 900 units”. Right after she cancelled a public hearing that largely did not support the development. Surely after that there was never really any doubt which way the decision was going to go.
What I would remind people of in the whole of this process is this: Is this the type of governance we want at the Municipal level? This council spent almost a quarter of a million dollars (Yes, $247,000) propping up and supporting this proposal before they spent another $99,000 on a public hearing. A hearing to, what, convince us that they hadn’t made up their minds? Would they have walked away from that $345,525 investment if enough people stood up and said “no”? Not likely. So why even bother with the public hearing when all this continued to do is divide the community. Let me ask all of you in our community: How can ANY decision so divisive be a good decision?
It is painfully obvious that the ramifications of this decision will not go away. The way our council has handled it from the start has pitted people against each other rather than create an environment of trust and co-operation. To have Mayor Jackson naively state that “now the community can heal” shows to what extent she is totally unaware of what her leadership has led this community to.
It was suggested by a columnist in this paper that the whole council would change if Mayor Jackson were to decide not to run again. Whether that is the case or not I certainly hope our next council has the ability to manage the rift Mayor Jackson has created. If not we could be in for a long 4 year term. Just think, the next four years will be pivotal in this community’s well being. We have a 1.5 Million sqft mall on our doorstep, we have Port Metro wanting not just a second berth but the dismantling of our tunnel (at our expense) for more and bigger ships and coal to come up the Fraser. All these will be completed or at least started in the next term as will the bridge. We need strong representation at the Metro board and we need a council that will step up to the plate for our Community. The present council has given me little faith that we will be cared for in this period of growth. And faith is what we need in this period of change.
Peter van der Velden