Questions from Maple Ridge Times for Municipal Election Candidates

November 3, 2011

Questions for Maple Ridge Council candidates:

  1. What neighbourhood do you live in? Rock Ridge.
     
  2. How many years have you lived in Maple Ridge? Full time resident 6 years.  My family settled here six generations ago so I spent a good part of my 30 years in Haney.
     
  3. How many Maple Ridge council meetings have you attended? I’ve attended one, presented to council in Pitt Meadows, and do read the council minutes online.
     
  4. Should Maple Ridge increase the availability of bike lanes? Y. Absolutely bike lanes are needed however due to the state of our economy that has families trying to make ends meet, combined with funding cuts across the board, I believe this infrastructure should be planned for but tabled for a couple of years from now.
     
  5. Should an effort be made to make roads safer for bikes? Y. There are many areas in Maple Ridge where roads, and sidewalks (or lack thereof) need to be addressed for both bikers and pedestrian safety.
     
  6. Should the Albion Flats be developed for shopping? N. I would prefer to see densification of the downtown core.  Extending shopping east is going to encourage residential sprawl to the east and we can’t currently afford adequate services to these areas as it is.
     
  7. Should the Albion Flats be developed for industrial? N.
     
  8. Should the Albion Flats be developed for residential? N. The schools of this area could not support the development.
     
  9. Should the Albion Flats be developed for mixed use? D.
     
  10. Is enough effort being made to preserve farmland? D.
     
  11. Should Maple Ridge have municipal garbage pickup? Y. I spoke with Ernie Daykin who informed me municipal garbage pickup would increase each household’s land tax by $200.  If elected to council I intend to negotiate down that cost and see pickup implemented at a rate cheaper than what we are currently paying individually.
     
  12. Are Maple Ridge’s recycling opportunities adequate? Y. We have one of the best, if not the best, recycling depots in the Fraser Valley.
     
  13. Should there be municipal bylaws to fight marijuana? N. It’s difficult to discourage grow operations through fines since such operations tend to net much more revenue than the bylaws can fine.
     
  14. Should mayor and council revisit their pay schedule? Yes. We are in a recession and should all be looking to tighten our belts.  I feel the mayor and council should set an example and would like to see the 13% pay raise council gave themselves just prior to this election reversed.  The citizens of Maple Ridge are not getting cost of living raises and either should council.
     
  15. Are Maple Ridge property taxes appropriate? N. Property taxes have gone up almost 30% since 2006 and current council intends to continue raising them a minimum of 4% every year. Our city has a reliance on personal property taxes higher than any neighboring community.  We can’t afford to continue growing with this reliance on increasing personal property taxes as residents are feeling squeezed by the costs particularly in light of the current economy.  I believe it is necessary for us to focus on bringing business to Maple Ridge to build a commercial tax base so we can take financial pressure off a community that consists primarily of families and seniors.
     
  16. Should more effort be made to deal with homelessness in Maple Ridge? Yes. The homeless count in Maple Ridge has increased 250% since 2005 with women and youth under 25 as the fastest growing homeless demographic. The creation of the Alouette Heights Supportive Housing will need to be monitored closely for its impact on this social problem.
     
  17. Are you satisfied with the Golden Ears Bridge? N. I would like to see the toll lowered to encourage usage.
     
  18. Do you support greater densification in Maple Ridge? Yes. The further our community spreads the more costs are associated with servicing it.  As our community continues to build residential properties in the outskirts of town the infrastructure and service requirement costs are growing exponentially. I feel we need to encourage development in the core of the town and plan to grow responsibly and within our economic means.
     
  19. Should there be more money for community facilities in Maple Ridge? Yes. The term “community facility” can cover everything from hospitals and libraries to parks and play grounds, so I feel this question could use some clarification.  We have a thriving and generous volunteer base in this community, so I would like to see improved cohesion between the city and volunteer groups to reduce operating and maintenance costs to do more with less.
     

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