Almost since the night he was elected, a foggy calm has settled over Mayor Elect Gordon Robson's Maple Ridge. Yeterday, for the first time in days, the fog lifted, as did the mood of the residents of this hamlet on the Fraser. With a population of 73,000 'hamlet' may be too romantic a description.
Just yesterday, November 24th 2005, I received a call from someone outside our community who 'had heard that we had elected a can-do mayor' and that things looked rosy for the development community. Things also look rosy for the addicted community, if the press has it right. And things look rosy for commuters and job seekers too. It seems we may be living in Nirvana. There are reports of travellers spotted in the distance who have heard of this place called Maple Ridge, a modern-day Shangrila, nestled quietly below the northern mountains of the Fraser Vallley on the banks of the serpentine, silt-filled Fraser River.
Less certain are the prospects for an Albion-sited First Pro and Wall-Mart (those evil twins of the retail world). The headlines on the front-page of the NEWS on November 23 say it loud and clear "Don't hold your breath First Pro." Mayor Robson, while publicly unimpressed by the Wall-Mart and cousin First Pro, may privately be turning the prospect of a big box presence in the Albion Flats over in his head. Council will be divided; here's my prediction: For BIG BOX: Daykin, Dueck (for sure); Against BIG BOX King, Speirs (for sure); On the fence: Stewart and Hogarth (not sure). Robson should stay away from the debate if he has any political sense; so far he has shown that when it comes to political sense he may have more than Maple Ridge has ever witnessed in a novice mayor.
The fog has lifted now, replaced by (surprise-surprise) rain. Sunny weather is in the forecast. But that's to be expected in Shangrila.