Friday, October 31, 2008

Maple Ridge Municipal Elections - Candidates seem unified on issues

If one is to believe the local media [and of course one is] then it appears that the three mayoral candidates and indeed all the council hopefuls are all on the same page when it comes to almost every issue of any consequence in this dormitory community. It is safe to say that everyone agrees that Maple Ridge is by every definition the sleepy hollow of the Fraser Valley; not that there is anything wrong with that.

Given this universal consensus of opinion among our politicos the citizens of Maple Ridge will or may be tempted to make their choice less on the views of the candidates and more on whether the candidate can deliver on any one of the short list of aspirations we all share:
  • keep it green and keep it clean (the ALR)
  • reduce one and increase the other (residential tax base v. business and commercial taxes)
  • densify whenever and wherever you can (the downtown areas now newly defined)
  • make Maple Ridge more attractive to business
  • get that public transport system a step closer to reality (light rail along the Lougheed)
  • do all we can to stop or at least slow down sprawl (happily excessive inventory in our single detached homes will take care of this problem for many years to come)
  • Drug dealing, prostitution, violent crime, petty theft and vandalism (just knock down Northumberland Court on Fraser Street and get a court order for its majority owner to do some sort of community service. Perhaps if he just left town that would be service enough.)
  • Haney Place Mall (see point above)
  • Valley Fair Mall (keep up the good work)
And so on and so on. Next year we will head back into the bull markets globally, though it will only be felt in 2010. The two bridges will begin to impact Maple Ridge though no one really knows how; perhaps the effects have already been factored and we will see little change.

It would be awful to see the same old faces on council of course. Politics is grimly predictable though in Maple Ridge and it is unlikely that we will see a 'bench change' of any significance. One thing is for sure, who is elected next Mayor will be well known to all. There are a few new faces running for council and they are all being very nice to each other right now. Let's see how long the peace lasts. For a lasting peace I am going to vote for Ernie Daykin. Either of the other two candidates will bring their own, unique brand of chaos to the Chamber. 

It would be nice to see a council more engaged in the day to day affairs of the District rather than just presiding over a conveyor belt of subdivision applications; we deserve better. Fortunately the recession will lessen the  flow of development permits being issued  (for the moment at least). But don't worry, they'll be back in 2010 and 2011. In the meantime the green-keepers can sleep at night. And pick-up trucks will be among the 'best buys' at our local dealerships (see Dodge and Ford) for some time to come.

The Farmers' Market will expand and may even sport locally grown produce one day though I am not holding my breath.

It is a shame that we do not have some exciting candidates like junk-yard Dave and that adult store guy whatshisname running this time around. Local tourist attraction Linda could make a clean breast of things and throw her bra into the ring. We have all sorts of interesting people who could make election 'more funner' to use the vernacular. But fun is not for us; consensus rules the day. Gordy says so, so you better believe it!!


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