Mike Smith

For Delta Council

The Issues

Transportation

I know that transportation is an immediate and serious issue in Delta – our city is spread over a wide geographical area which requires smarter transportation solutions to move people and goods amongst our communities. Delta has historically been underserved by regional transportation options, which has driven many Deltans to rely on personal vehicles for their commute – only to find themselves stuck day in and day out at a tunnel with degrading infrastructure not set to serve the increased flow of goods and people through our city.

While Translink expansions have provided some relief for underserved Deltans, we continue to have bus service which is lacking in providing the support necessary for our expanding community. Our provincial government has stalled on a solution for the Massey crossing and drivers continue to idle and wait.

On top of that, anyone can see that Council has let our sidewalks degrade over years of neglect. It might seem like a small thing, but sidewalks matter. Sidewalks keep our kids safe on their way to and from school, they help to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from vehicles, and they keep folks walking on our streets and in our local businesses. They are integral connections – every person in Delta should be able to walk safely down the street to visit their neighbour, have a coffee, or do some shopping.

I know transportation – I’ve worked in the sector for many years and have had the opportunity to build some great connections. As a Councillor, I would continue to be a vocal advocate and use all the tools I’ve got to ensure the expansion of all transportation options that make our community safer, more efficient, and better connected.

You elect councillors to work for you - and that's what I'm here to do: I'm here to be the independent voice that makes sure your voices are heard.

Accountability and Transparency

Some people have asked me why I consider myself a ‘common-sense’ candidate. Well, here’s the one reason I think sums it all up: I think it’s common sense that the voters that elect our Council should also be the folks deciding if the job being done is worthy of a raise. But our former Council must disagree, having awarded themselves unanimously, at the recommendation of then CAO Harvie, a ‘Golden Handshake’ pension that will float them on whenever they leave their seat. Not only that – they made sure to backdate it 12 years – ensuring Delta taxpayers would be on the hook for a bigger payout right from the start.

Just to do the math: if none of our sitting councillors regain their seats in this election, Deltans would be shelling out over $350 thousand dollars – and more than $120 thousand dollars to Lois Jackson herself. That’s on top of the wages they’re already paid each year. This new payout amounts to a whole lot of money to spent by Council, and set up in perpetuity, without discussion or public input.

We all know that sometimes, Council has to get down to the tough issues, and compensation is always a tough issue. But that means you have to have the tough conversations, find the points of agreement, and get to a deal. You’ve got to hear from the folks on both sides. You might even have to have a couple tough debates.

But you don’t run from that challenge - it doesn’t mean you keep all the people who voted you into place silent and in the dark. This Golden Handshake was created and passed without discussion – you and I both know that there’s no excuse for that.

Ensuring the public is informed and involved with their local government is a major priority for me. Our Council needs to return to its roots: hearing from the community and acting on their behalf – not pushing through decisions quietly while ignoring those who want to have a chance to speak.

As a Councillor, I’ll remain true to my values and push for transparency and accountability first, always.

Governing with your Interests at Heart

I’ve always considered myself a good listener. And over the last 25 years, I think I’ve done pretty well at developing my own skills to be effective listening to folks, building connections, and being a good and honest representative. Part of the reason I loved coaching competitive football so much was the opportunities it gave me to connect with so many folks in the community – parents and kids, coaches and teachers, uncles and cousins.

Our Council has lost this kind of connection. For a local government, I know a lot of people feel like it’s being run from pretty far away. Decisions are made before they ever make it to a council meeting, and when folks come up to speak to our Mayor and Council, too often they are given their time to speak, but never really listened to. More than any other, local governments have the responsibility to build close connections with residents, and move the community forwards, together.

As a Councillor, I will continue to rely on my experience, making new efforts to engage our community with the day-to-day operations of our Council. I’ll work to bring more people into the fold and bring more voices to the table when we’re determining the path forwards for our communities. Our Council has to refocus on listening to our communities and acting on that as the driving force forwards - and I will work tirelessly as Councillor to ensure that change happens, that you aren’t just heard, but truly listened to, and that each and every vote I make is driven by you.