On March 23–25, 2015, Mayor Lois E. Jackson, Councillor Ian L. Paton, Delta CAO George V. Harvie, and Fire Chief Dan Copeland travelled to Ottawa to meet with federal ministers and senior bureaucrats to discuss Delta issues and further our municipality’s interests. The delegation also had the opportunity to meet with Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canada Post, and Ottawa Fire Services staff.
These trips have proven to be invaluable in the past and a wise investment for our future. Through senior government grant funding opportunities, The Corporation of Delta has successfully leveraged project dollars and provided a critical boost for the local economy. From 2009–2015, we completed 16 large capital projects with a construction value of $66.8 million dollars at a cost to the municipal tax-payer of less than $0.43 cents on the dollar; almost all of this money was directed back into businesses in the Metro Vancouver area, creating and maintaining jobs in our local communities.
During the brief time spent in Ottawa, the Delta delegation was successful in raising the profile of key issues with federal ministers and officials. Meeting topic and summaries:
- Roberts Bank Terminal 2 – Transport Canada
The delegation met with senior policy staff to discuss the proposed port expansion and inland ports as a means to mitigate the associated traffic impacts. Work is being undertaken with respect to dredging funding, and the Minister is looking to reframe the eligibility criteria for airport funding.
- Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada
The delegation met with Minister Bernard Valcourt, MP Mark Strahl, Parliamentary Secretary, and two senior staff to highlight key concerns regarding the proposed amendments to the federal Additions to Reserve/Reserve Creation Policy. Ministry staff will review the information provided by Delta and provide answers to Delta’s questions.
- Environment Canada
The delegation met with senior staff from Environment Canada and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to discuss port expansion and Ashcroft Terminal. With respect to dredging, it was noted that ocean disposal fees are set out in the Financial Administration Act and cannot be waived.
- Ministry of Agriculture & Agri-Food
The delegation met with senior policy advisor staff and provided an update regarding the pressures on agricultural land from port development. Staff indicated that the Minister is supportive of Ashcroft Terminal. A potential funding opportunity for Westham Island drainage improvements is the Growing Forward program; the Province would make the application.
- Western Economic Diversification
The delegation met with the Minister of State and senior staff to discuss funding opportunities through the Building Canada Fund in relation to emergency management infrastructure and Boundary Bay Airport.
- Ministry of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs
Senior government staff provided the delegation with information related to grand funding, dredging, port expansion and Ashcroft Terminal.
- Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)
The delegation met with Brock Carlton, CEO, and three other senior staff at FCM and covered most of the issues. It was noted that there is currently an appeal against the medical marihuana regulations and that policy papers have been put on hold pending the outcome. It was also noted that the addition-to-reserve regulations have yet to be approved by the Minister. Regarding the New Building Canada Fund, FCM is not optimistic that the government will expand the eligibility criteria to fund emergency operations centres; however, there may be some funding coming from Public Safety to keep aware of.
- Canada Post
Throughout the hour-long meeting with Canada Post’s General Manager of Government Affairs the following points were discussed:
- One-third of Canadians are already served by community mailboxes.
- Location of community mailboxes – Canada Post wishes to work with municipalities to ensure locations are acceptable and do not devalue property.
- 160 sites located in Delta – Canada Post will compensate $50 per site.
- Special provisions being set up for “snow birds.”
- If capacity needs to be increased, will add to franchise sites e.g. Pharmasave.
- Aware of mail theft concerns – boxes have been re-engineered to be stronger and resistant to damage.
- Medical marihuana is not delivered to community mailboxes – must be delivered to a physical address and get a signature at the door. Canada Post is to send letter to Ladner residents in early May before installing community mailboxes in June for a full transition in September 2015.
- Ottawa Fire Services
The delegation met with Ottawa Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief to discuss issues relating to firefighter training to medical first responder status, response times for paramedics and fire services, 911 response and dispatch protocols, among other things.