The incumbent set out to 'go big or go home' and judging by the money spent on his campaign managed, in one deft move, to pull of both; he went big and he went home.
The much maligned Sather managed to the surprise of many to garner considerably more votes than the incumbent. If there were any surprises in the Maple Ridge election then that was probably it.
Many friends and associates were behind Uncle Ernie's campaign and were rewarded for their common sense approach. A two-term Mayor is a rare thing in Maple Ridge, but as of now it is quite possible that we may have a two-term or perhaps even three-term guy with his hand on the gavel (I know, I know - he does not have a gavel).
As for council; Dueck, Hogarth and Ashlie make for a powerful trio of like-minded individuals. King and Speirs will continue as the conscience of Maple Ridge and defenders of all things social and green. Morden will find his way and learn the ropes quickly. I am keeping one of his campaign ads (not really, I'm just saying that) on my desk to see how closely he tracks his promises over the next three years. Just a guess, but he is certain to fall in line with Uncle Ernie, Dueck, Hogarth and Ashlie on most issues.
According the economists we are in for a quiet three years. Urban sprawl and big shopping centres in the Albion area will be less of a threat to rural Maple Ridge for a while. This then is a good time to plan. And plan we will, because that is what we do best. Plan and plan and plan.
Here's a to do list:
- Improve our image when it comes to outside investors
- Improve our desirability as a place to base a business
- Improve our downtown as promised by everyone and achieved so far by none
- Improve (ahem) transport
- Improve our 'branding' - a Morden chestnut and something that needs serious attention
- Improve our image as a festivals, cultural (both intellectual and agri) centre
- Improve, improve relations with outside agencies including provincial and federal
- Improve public safety in the downtown by getting on Athawal's case with some degree of seriousness
- Improve our museum - as in build a new one on 224th street