Sunbury Neighbourhood Association

Candidate: George Hawksworth

Answers:

  1. What do you see as the most important issues facing the Sunbury/Annieville neighbourhoods  and what are you willing to do to address these issues?

Perhaps the number one issue for many Sunbury residents is to remove the heavy volume of truck traffic from River Rd.    Either a South Fraser Perimeter Road or a tunnel promises to do this.  However,  neither option has gone to my knowledge beyond the talking stage.   Delta Council needs to ensure that N.Delta residents, particularly in the Sunbury area, have their wishes heard re the location and type of by-pass option chosen.  And Council can see that this happens.   As a community we also need to know both when construction is going to start, and how the community impacts of such a construction project will be mitigated for the local residents.  

Traffic is also an issue wherever one lives in N.Delta, and the volumes of commuters particularly seem to increase annually as Surrey continues to grow.   A challenge for the Sunbury/Annieville area is to ensure that regional and through traffic generally does not affect local residential neighbourhoods via “rat-running”   And this challenge can be addressed by an enhanced program of traffic calming.   Such a program would have to cover the entire area of Sunbury;  otherwise the problem migrates from one street to the other.  

A Delta First Council would work with residents in the Sunbury and Annieville areas to ensure that both these issues are addressed properly.  

       2.What importance do you place on community input and how do you propose to use the input of these neighbourhoods in upcoming issues?

Neighbourhood input is essential if any of the problems affecting a locality with Delta are ever to be adequately addressed.   While it is possible to involve local communities in solving specific problems such as how relief can be found for truck traffic on River Rd., it is important for Council to keep up-to-date on how the public in any of our communities are feeling about a variety of issues: everything from crime prevention to the condition of our facilities for example.   A Delta First Council would commit to holding “community forums” at least twice each year within each of South and North Delta.   These would provide for regular feedback from residents, and provide residents with a measure of accountability.   These community input sessions need only involve the mayor and councilors listening to the voices of the community.   It is not necessary to create a traveling “road show” with a host of staff members present.   These are to be talk to your Council sessions, and they must occur on a regular basis if they are to have any value either for Council or for the residents affected. 

       3.What importance do you place on heritage and environmental protection and what are you willing to do to back your position?

There is no question that Delta Council must play an active role in ensuring our environment is protected.   This can often be done by requiring that any project that poses any risk to the environment be subject to a rigorous environmental assessment beforehand.   Another step is to ensure that environmentally sensitive areas within our community are protected by special designations and subject to the development permit process whereby specific environmental protection measures are mandated before any development can go ahead. 

Fish habitat within riparian areas along the Fraser and the edges of streams need local legislation to back that of the province.   Burns Bog, now it is in public ownership, still needs to be protected from recurrent wildfires and trespass.   The Boundary Bay area which accommodates migrating wildfowl within the Pacific Flyway also needs support from local government.   No doubt we can find allies among neighbouring municipalities within the greater Vancouver region who can help us find additional resources to help sustain these last two environmental objectives. 

Protection of heritage sites, whether relating to first nation heritage, or to early European settlement,  can be protected.   There is an abundance of provincial legislation to deal with both.   But the municipality needs to go beyond protection to educating the public about our past,  and how our communities have evolved unto the present.   The Delta Museum and the Heritage Committee both are open to volunteers and both play an important role in not only identifying important heritage sites and buildings, but bringing information about our heritage to the attention of the public.   Council must support both of these organizations, and enable them to make their information widely available throughout the entire community. 

 4. Given that Delta is divided into three separate districts, how will you elicit the opinions of each district and what weight will you give those opinions?   

I may well have answered this question in relation to number 2 above.   The aforementioned community forums will be a new step for Delta Council to make.  These events will have to be scheduled on a regular basis,  input from local citizens needs to be carefully recorded, and issues raised need to be addressed in a timely fashion.   Otherwise, these community input sessions will be only empty exercises.    And a Delta First Council will inaugurate this kind of program immediately.