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What is a mayor's summit?
The need for meaningful dialogue—that’s what is driving the forthcoming mayor’s summit focusing on the proposal to return the Southlands property to the Agricultural Land Reserve, says Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.
While the first three nights of a public hearing resulted in a lengthy list of speakers, Jackson said for council to properly arrive at a decision on the contentious 500-plus acre of land in Tsawwassen further discussion needs to take place among prominent stakeholders in the community.
Jackson will chair the summit and has included CAO George Harvie and Coun. Ian Paton as the corporation’s representatives.
Century Group will determine who will fill their three spots. And Jackson will select the two positions allocated to the ALR petition group and the farming and environmental communities which received one each. Jackson explained the selection process as the prerogative of the mayor.
No timetable has been set to determine how long the summit, which will be closed to the public, is set to run—although, a report from its proceedings are expected to be presented to council prior to the April 14 resumption of the public hearings.
Former Delta Mayor Doug Husband, who presided over the last Southlands public hearing back in 1989 which stretched over 25 nights, making it one of the longest in Canadian history, said the idea of a mayor’s summit is novel and may be an efficient course of action that could avoid another set of marathon public hearings.
“I am assuming Lois (Jackson), who was on council at the time of those hearings, is trying to learn from that experience,” he said.
He recalled when the speakers list was getting low on numbers when the meetings stretched late into the night some people would arrive at municipal hall still in their pajamas to address council.
“People used to also bring along their hot pots and have dinner right there because some of the meetings would start at 6 p.m. and then run as late as 11 p.m. or midnight,” Husband said.
This is not the second time the Southlands has been opened up to a public hearing. In fact, it’s the third occasion, Husband said, alluding to a period in 1971.
“I remember (then mayor) Tom Goode telling me that on the first night 1,000 people showed up for