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Delta delegation goes to Parliament Hill
A whirlwind visit to Ottawa two weeks ago paid dividends for a delegation from Delta, which met with five different ministries, two federal ministers, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in just two short days.
According to a Delta Council report about the trip, Mayor Lois Jackson, Coun. Ian Paton, and chief administrative officer George Harvie met with officials in Ottawa on Nov. 6-7, before flying back in time to make a decision on the Southlands proposal.
The delegation met with senior policy advisors to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt to discuss one of Delta’s greatest concerns, a draft document of the federal additions-to-reserve creation policy.
The federal government released the draft in May which contains proposed changes that could have significant implications for local governments throughout Canada. Specifically, those changes could allow First Nations to add lands to their reserve that are outside of their traditional territory if it strengthens economic development.
Delta is asking the federal government to provide meaningful discussion with local governments and their representative groups, including the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the FCM.
“This is a municipal problem everywhere with this proposed legislation coming forward and we didn’t really have a lot of comfort that our concerns were being met,” said Jackson to Delta Council on Monday.
The delegation also met with Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and senior policy staff with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) regarding the ocean disposal fees for secondary channel dredging in Ladner. This is another significant issue for Delta as disposal fees could add an additional $500,000 to the local channel dredging costs.
Although a $10 million agreement between the province, Port Metro Vancouver, the City of Richmond, and the Corporation of Delta was announced last December to dredge local channels around Ladner and Steveston, the process has been held up by DFO’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Program.
Instead of dredging the silt and disposing of the material “in-river” to let it wash out to the ocean, DFO has ordered some silt from the river must be hauled by truck to Point Grey in Vancouver at an additional estimated cost of $1.4 million.
The trio also met with Delta-Richmond East MP and National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay to discuss local issues, senior policy and planning staff for the ministry of infrastructure, and senior staff at the FCM.