MORGAN  JENSEN for  Maple Ridge
BalancedInformedConnected
My name is Morgan Jensen and I ran for a seat on Maple Ridge Council in the municipal election on Saturday, November 15 this past fall. I outlined my platform, topic by topic, on the pages listed above but I also summarized my approach to the position in three words, balanced, informed, and connected. Here is what I meant :

I will be a balanced councillor in that I will work for what's best for the entire community of Maple Ridge, not just              one neighbourhood over another, or one issue over another.

I will be an informed councillor by constantly asking questions, consistently delving deeper, and by never                        accepting what someone else tells me as the final word.

Finally, I will be a connected councillor because I will always listen and stay connected with the residents of Maple        Ridge as well as business owners, educators and everyone else who has a stake in our great community.

I will be working hard in the coming weeks to gain your trust and confidence and I do hope that, after listening to what I have to say and looking closer at who I am and what I have done, you will vote for me on Saturday, November 15th.

Thank you, Morgan Jensen
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This page was last updated: December 14, 2014
Photograph by Morgan Jensen
Photograph by Megan Faber
THIS SITE AND ITS CONTENTS ARE APPROVED BY MORGAN JENSEN FOR MAPLE RIDGE COUNCIL

Dear Morgan
If possible could you give us an overview of your plans for what you stand for and hope to accomplish in the next 4 years.
Thank you for your time,
E. S.  Maple Ridge

Hi E. S.

I stand for smart growth in ways that will benefit the entire community and move us toward a more stable and healthy community. I am a balanced candidate who will work to both protect our valuable farmland and encourage growth in sectors that will bring in more revenue and help to level out our residential property tax burden.

I believe in the following:

1.We need to work hard as a community to reduce the number of homeless people living in our community. I have a 15 point homeless action plan laid out on my website that includes the involvement of churches in our city, all related community groups, support facilities as well as all levels of government. There are countless Maple Ridge residents as well who would love to volunteer and help in any way they can, they are just waiting to be asked.

2.We need to reallocate police and bylaw resources, rather than add to them, in order to attack crime and clean up our streets and neighbourhoods. Again, volunteer neighbourhood watches and other methods will enhance that effort.

3.Development, specifically housing, needs to be focused on the town centre and work out from there. We need to infill where possible in the west and centre of town, and work slowly east. We cannot afford to continue to develop or allow development in areas that are not currently serviced and that do not have adequate schools, shopping or other amenities nearby.

4.We need to attract more industrial and commercial businesses to Maple Ridge, in targeted areas, and to actively pursue post secondary institutions, research facilities, etc., so we can increase revenues for the city and provide more good paying jobs for our residents.

5.Traffic flow through our city, specifically from west to east in the later hours of each weekday, is atrocious. We have several main through streets, including a four lane Lougheed Highway, a four lane Dewdney Trunk Road, and Golden Ears Way (which turns into Abernathy Way). Why does traffic jam up with so many alternatives? I believe there are ways to better engineer our roads, the traffic lights, and to educate drivers about the best route to travel. I do not support the back way to River Road heading east as an alternative, that route is becoming dangerous to local residents in that area and changes must be made to deter that.

6.We must protect our agricultural lands, especially land that is currently being actively farmed. I support maintaining any land in the ALR that is being farmed, used for agricultural business of some sort, or that has the potential for the same. Agritourism is an excellent way to both protect viable farmland and generate revenue for the community.

7.I support the use of the Albion Flats for agriculture-related industry, some community use such as a multi-use stadium and new fairgrounds, and a new leisure centre.

8.I believe there are parts of the downtown core that are currently city owned and used that could be sold and developed for a hotel and convention centre, better retail experiences or other business and residential purposes (the old court house for example).

9.I support working toward a model for municipal garbage pickup that includes our current recycling program, possible green waste program run locally, and some sort of uniform garbage pickup. I think we should arrive at a dollar number that would please everyone (between $15 and $20 per month maximum) and find a model that will fit within that number.

10.I support a city wide parking review and inventory that would be a first step toward a plan that benefits everyone in the community, as well as downtown businesses and people working in the downtown core (and at the hospital). I would like to see parkade structures in strategic areas of the downtown.

11.I will work to engage residents and businesses and involve them in every aspect of City Hall, in ways that will include regular town hall meetings, community group involvement, increased social media access, and frequent surveys and referendums to gauge what the public wants from its elected officials.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer your question
Morgan

Letters & Questions From Voters
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.

Misc:
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.

Job Creation:
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.

Residential Development:
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.

City Hall:
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?

Yes.

Are you in support of pay raises for Council? If so, how much?

No.

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

If you're looking for my business, please go to:
JBS Home Improvement
www.jbshomeimprovement.ca