Hi Candidates and Incumbents!
Thank you for taking the time to read my email! I understand that this is a very busy time for you and I suspect that many of you will not reply, but if you are able to take a few moments to have a look at my list of questions and give some brief answers I sure would appreciate it! It’s very challenging as a voter to try and compile information on the Candidates and despite searching many websites and social media vehicles, I find that I am still quite uncertain on where people stand. Some of the Candidates don’t have websites, some are not on Twitter, some haven’t submitted profiles to the MapleRidge.ca website. Here is an opportunity for everyone to offer straight forward answers to straight forward questions, on topics that matter to me as a voter.
•Do you have an alliance with any others who are running? Do you feel that there are any others who hold the same values and strategies as you?
I do not have any “alliances” with any other candidates, but I do share many of my resident engagement ideas with Chelsa Meadus, another candidate for a seat on Council.
Post Secondary Education:
•Should it be located close to downtown or the WCE station for access to transit? If not, do you have a spot where you would like to see this located?
I would like to see a major post secondary institution located near Thomas Haney Secondary, perhaps just east of that school, on the north side of Lougheed Highway (the provincially owned lands that are for sale). I do not believe it should be located downtown, the city centre should be slated for retail, shops, restaurants, etc., and more residences.
•What type of Post Sec Ed would you like to see? What types of courses? (Hint: Should be very wise with what courses are offered, for example, can grads of this post secondary find suitable work in MR?)
We are going to need more and more graduates in health care related industries, medical research, lab techs, etc. I would also like to see an emphasis on environmental studies, alternate energy industries and advanced agricultural studies.
•Also, is there a need for the course? (HINT: VCC and BCIT have many health care and technology courses with a wait list of over 2 years to get in!!).
Yes, absolutely, as I mentioned above, these areas of study are growing and there are still limited facilities for study
•Will there be affordable housing close to school?
The downtown core is buzzing with many hundreds of new condos and other types of housing, we must also include affordable housing of all types for seniors, students, young couples and others who are just starting out in their adult life.
•Are you in support of subsidizing potential employers to bring new businesses to MR?
Yes, but how we do that is complex and there is no “one size fits all” method. We must investigate what other communities have done, both in and outside of Canada, and use the best approach.
•Are you in support of subsidizing MR employers for hiring MR residents (proof of residency required) rather than having residents from other areas take the very limited number of jobs in our area?
I doubt that we could do that, unfortunately, but, with that said, if we link our post secondary facilities and courses with the job demand, we can give our local students and young people an added advantage. Jobs in Maple Ridge will have to be open to everyone, but even those from outside the community who get those jobs may chose to move here and become residents.
•Should we limit the number of dollar stores, thrift stores, and payday loan/pawn broker businesses? If so, do you have a number in mind?
We can’t do that legislatively, virtually every type of business will only thrive if there is a demand for their services. What we need to do is change the reason there is a demand for these businesses, and that means changing the entire feel and “personality” of our city. Dollar stores and thrift stores are not a big problem, and I think we only have one pawn shop, but the number of cash loan stores has increased for a variety of reasons, including the opening of the casino.
•Where do you see as ideal locations to build/grow industrial/business opportunities?
The Albion area along the waterfront, west of 240th, and properties on both sides of the highway east of 240th. There are properties on 256th to the north, but I feel we need to address access to those areas as well as encouraging businesses to move there. As far as new areas, I believe that those properties east of 240th along the highway hold the most promise.
•Are you in support of building more residences in the north and east sectors or MR?
Eventually perhaps, but we must return to a focus on the town centre, any other infill areas in the west side of town, and then properties that are ready for development working from the town centre outwards.
•Are you in support of building along the river and in other Flood Plains? If so what contingency plan do you propose when those areas flood (say the likes of Calgary or High River floods)
No, I do not support any developments that encroach along the river(s), that are in flood plains, or that may cause harm to the surrounding aquifer or any sensitive natural area.
•Should all large trees and foliage be removed to ease development constraints? Is a small park, or money in lieu, a fair compromise?
I do not favour stripping away trees and other natural “impediments” in order to expedite a development, but, with that said, I realize that this method is an acceptable practice in many communities. I feel that each proposed development must be viewed individually, and that the city should establish a policy that best balances our natural attributes with the need for more housing.
•Should Council put in place performance metrics for Department Managers and their staff, or should Council go with a more hands-off approach and not interfere?
The correct approach is somewhere in the middle of that question. The overall performance of any city, like any business, must be balanced between fiscal responsibility and performance expectations. If we don’t have ways to measure both then we must introduce them as a part of our day to day process.
•Should the public have easy access to what areas of the city are under development/proposed for development, with an interactive map on the web site?
Yes, in whatever way that is possible. I am an advocate for open and accessible government, and the public should have access to pending developments once they are officially on the books.
•Should the public have the ability to vote on spending/development/transportation issues, say for example, via an online survey or referendum available on the web site?
Yes, I would like to see a process put in place where residents can interact in many different ways. I’m not sure what that model would look like, or whether the referendums would be legally binding, but we must engage the public and make them a part of any and all decisions.
•Should the public have easy access to information on the website such as Councils attendance records and Councils voting history?
•Are you in support of pay raises for Council? If so, how much?
•Are you in support of increased taxes if the money goes directly to tackle issues or should the money be found elsewhere?
I do not support increasing taxes to simply tackle current problems. I believe that we must first access available resources and work with what we have.
Again, thank you for giving of yourself to serve our community, and thank you for spending this time with me.
C. P. Maple Ridge