Yesterday at our monthly NAIOP Breakfast Event, we were joined by leading mayors from growing communities in the Lower Mainland, recognizing them for their achievements in creating livable and sustainable cities. In the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting each of them in our blog, addressing their successes, challenges, and outlook on the future of their municipalities.
For many, Lois Jackson of Delta needs no introduction. In 1972, she was the first woman elected as a Councillor, which she served until she started her term as Mayor in 1999. At that time, Delta had over $60 million in debt. With an aggressive and innovative approach, Mayor Jackson shared that Delta will be debt-free by 2016. Thanks to her ‘pay as you go’ method, she was even able to develop 16 large capital projects valued at $66.8 million without taking a single loan during her many years in office.
Source: Mayor Jackson Facebook
It’s for this incredible achievement that we awarded Mayor Jackson for municipal excellence, as the "Most Fiscally Responsible" municipality. In achieving financial freedom, Mayor Jackson also credits inclusiveness to being a contributing factor to this accomplishment. She’s assembled several committees to advise on Delta’s development, including the Civic Building Committee, which approves all contracts that are proposed by developers that are $50,000 and up. She’s also created an Invest in Delta Standing Committee, made up of a diverse group of professionals that range from small business owners to large developers.
Delta consists of three distinct communities: Ladner, Tsawwassen, and North Delta. With a growing population of just over 100,000 residents, Delta is uniquely positioned next to the United States border, surrounding water, BC ferry terminal, and an airport. It’s also home to the largest coal terminal and the largest industrial port, which acts as the gateway for Asian shipments.
These attractive features is why many developers are looking to this corner of the Lower Mainland for future commercial opportunities, most notably the Tsawwassen Mills project. Located at Highway 17 and 52nd Street on Tsawwassen First Nation Lands, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s Tsawwassen Mills will include approximately 1.2 million square feet of retail, with 16 anchors, a unique mix of premium fashion brands, factory outlets, restaurants, and a 1,100-seat food court.
Source: Tsawwassen Mills
Mayor Jackson also shared a few upcoming projects, which includes replacing the George Massey Tunnel between Delta and Richmond with a new bridge, a projected $3 billion cost. The proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, which would add a three-berth container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta and provide 2.4 million TEUs of container capacity.
Though Mayor Jackson’s achievements are enough to mark a legacy, she insists there is still “a lot more to do”. We look forward to how Delta will continue to grow into one of Greater Vancouver’s thriving cities.