- BC Games
Top 5 newsmakers of 2013
There were many people who made the news in 2013, but the South Delta Leader have recognized five individuals whom we believe were the “newsmakers” of the year.
• In February, Delta Police Chief Const. Jim Cessford boldly rejected calls to join a regional policing model following recommendations made by Wally Oppal at the Missing Women Inquiry. Cessford said Delta’s model of policing where “no call is too small” is the one that works best for its residents and that it assisted in catching the killer of Laura Szendrei. The longest serving chief of any police force in Canada, he also celebrated the department’s 125th anniversary earlier this year.
• Eliza Olson of the Burns Bog Conservation Society may not have grabbed headlines herself this year, but the conservationist was instrumental in raising the opposition to developments which she fears will threaten the largest raised peat bog on the west coast of the Americas. By sounding the alarm on a proposed mixed residential development by MK Delta Lands in North Delta, Olson has managed to force the company to go back to the drawing board numerous times in order to convince the public of the merits of the plan. She was also instrumental in bringing attention the Fraser Surrey Docks coal trains, which proposes transporting four million metric tonnes of coal through North Delta each year. Her continued efforts to bring awareness to this sensitive ecosystem earned her a Hats Off to Excellence tourism award nomination from the Delta Chamber of Commerce.
• In April, Chief Bryce Williams was elected in a do-over from the September 2012 results that were invalidated by a judicial council last December. Not only did the 23-year-old improve his margin of victory this time around, he put to bed any doubt that his original win over long-serving Chief Kim Baird was any fluke. In early October, Williams announced the Treaty First Nation would be building its own sanitary sewer treatment plant, ending years of speculation as to how they would provide the infrastructure for their ambitious development plans in the region.
• On Nov. 8, Century Group’s president Sean Hodgins managed to do what no other person before him was able: get the contentious Southlands property past third reading in municipal council. Not only was the developer’s revised plan to donate 80 per cent of the land to the municipality attractive enough to win a 6-1 vote from the council members, it ended a 42-year history of failed applications beginning with the original property owners in 1971. Although the battle is far from being won–the issue must now go before Metro Vancouver for an amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy–it was a key hurdle in the development process.
• Independent MLA Vicki Huntington was re-elected as an independent MLA for Delta South on May 14, becoming the first politician in B.C. history to win a seat twice without belonging to a political party. The politician continued to use her lone voice in the Victoria legislature to introduce legislation pushing for electoral reform even after fellow independent MLAs John van Dongen and Bob Simpson failed to be re-elected. In July, Huntington re-introduced legislation to move fixed election dates to the ball so as to prevent the budget process from being unduly influenced by the election cycle.