Delta formally becomes a city

Photo by Analyn Cuarto
Photo by Analyn Cuarto

After nearly a year of change, the City of Delta has arrived

By Greg Waldock, Staff Writer


Delta is now officially a city.

For the past year, Delta has been in a state of slow transition from a “corporation” to a proper “city”, ever since the municipal council voted for the switch on January 30 and gained public approval on May 15. The change was motivated largely by repeated incidents where other cities across Canada and the world became confused by the term “corporation,” misinterpreting it as a private company. It’s a purely symbolic difference for Delta, and will not impact its municipal powers or funding, though the new city is taking the opportunity to celebrate their history and place in the GVA.

The city was originally called a “corporation” as an archaic leftover from a time when municipal terminology was less standardized. Definitions for cities, towns, corporations, and villages were less regulated in British Columbia when Delta was formed in 1879, as seen with Nelson, which is still legally the Corporation of Nelson, though it publicly refers to itself as a city. There simply had never been a push for a change in Delta’s title until recently, when its size and economic power pushed it onto a global stage that now uses standardized terms for municipalities.

Delta Major Lois Jackson called the change a “momentous milestone for our municipality” in a press release in early October, signifying—though not causing—Delta’s shift into a major player in BC’s economy and population. Jackson went on to say the change is “reflective of the growing, vibrant, diverse city that Delta has become,” emphasising the rapid expansion of infrastructure Delta has experienced in recent decades.

After the council voted unanimously for the change in January, the order was pushed through to gauge public support. Only around 2 per cent of Delta’s population objected to the name change in the vote that ended on May 15, so the plan went ahead unobstructed—and the plan was for a slow, cheap transition to being a city in name. By the end, the entire project only cost the city roughly $5,000, and though the unusually complex provincial election earlier this year delayed the change, the plan had always been for a deliberate and steady transition, allowing the city to finish with few costs and fewer controversies or mishaps.

Street signs were swapped out with new ones instead of being repaired, legal documents were gradually altered, and the province gave its several bureaucratic stamps of approval over the last eight months. All this was done with little fanfare until the week of October 12, when Jackson announced the finalizing of the project and declaring that the Corporation of Delta is now to be publicly known as the City of Delta.

The new city will celebrate its history and culture on December 10 at the Ladner Leisure Center, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and at the Sungod Recreation Center, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with free public admission.