Sunbury Neighbourhood Association

Candidate: Malcolm Ashford

Answers:

  1. Obviously traffic and transportation are and always have been major issues for the community. An alternate route for truck traffic other than River Road is a must. If the Gateway Program (Provincial Ministry of Transportation) is willing to consider a tunnel under North Delta as part of the solution, I would be quite prepared to support and lobby for that option. My sense however is that this is not a solution that Gateway is willing to pursue mainly for financial reasons. If such is the case Gateway should be prepared to provide the community with a detailed and accurate costing of the tunnel option to justify why this solution is not feasible. If a tunnel is not an option, I would support proceeding with the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) as soon as possible. The design of SFPR should be such that neighbourhood concerns are taken into consideration, particularly eliminating any on/off ramps in the vicinity of Centre and Russell streets.
  1. Community input is critical to resolving the above and other issues. It must be meaningful input over the long term not jut one public meeting such as the one token meeting the current council held at the 11th hour to gauge community concerns. Community input has been ignored far too long. Council needs to be a conduit of public input from the community to the Gateway Program and the success of this approach will depend upon re-building relationships between council and the provincial government so that input is taken seriously.
  1. Preservation of our heritage is very important. Council should be an advocate on behalf of the community in heritage preservation. Again relationships will be key to thoughtful solutions. Council should insist on comprehensive environmental reviews before any transportation solution is allowed to proceed. Processes are in place (federal and provincial environmental review processes) that should be respected and allowed to proceed to completion.
  1. There are three separate districts in Delta and soon to be a fourth – the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN). These distinct areas and their differences can be a strength if we approach issues and their solutions in a logical and thoughtful way. There is strength in diversity.

I support community town hall meetings on a semi-annual basis so that input can be received on a variety of issues. I also support a more effective OCP (Official Community Plan) process that is meaningful and timely. This would also apply to the area plans that evolve from an OCP. The current OCP process is flawed, by lack of input, and leads to an OCP developed by staff with direction from the political masters, rather than a truly public process and document. Significant weight must be given to public input as the public voice should be the driver behind a vision for our community. Politicians should be the “implementers” of the public will.