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Green party announces Maple Ridge candidates
The B.C. election ballot in both Maple Ridge ridings became more crowded Monday as the Green Party of B.C. announced its competitors.
Alex Pope will run for the Greens in Maple Ridge-Mission, while Michael Patterson will do the same in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.
"I felt it was important that the Green Party of B.C. have a representative in the riding," said Pope, a part-time computer programmer who bikes to work in Vancouver.
Pope, chair of the bicycle advisory committee in Maple Ridge, tried for a seat on Maple Ridge council in the 2011 election. He decided to put his name forward after no one else did and was confirmed on the weekend by the party.
Pope said that federally he's a Liberal and doubted whether a Green party candidate would split the vote and keep the NDP from winning the riding.
Last election, Mike Bocking, with the NDP, lost by 68 votes to Liberal MLA Marc Dalton.
"I don't think the B.C. Liberals really represent the ideas of the federal Liberal party," Pope said.
"I have a feeling that it's not going to be anywhere nearly as close as the last election."
He's predicting an NDP win.
On the political spectrum, Pope said the Green party wasn't left of the NDP and that its policies were just centred on the environment. His goal is to be vocal and raise some issues.
In the last British Columbia election in 2009, the Greens took seven per cent of the vote in Maple Ridge-Mission, earning 1,300 votes.
Pope said both Maple Ridge and Mission are under-served in transportation, a situation made more complex by the fact that Mission is not part of TransLink.
He wants better walkability for both communities and says there bike lanes should link directly to West Coast Express train stations.
Unless people use the morning- and evening-only trains, there is no transit link between Maple Ridge and Mission.
So it should be decided whether it's cheaper to increase the frequency of the WCE or to start a bus route between Maple Ridge and Mission.
In Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, Patterson, a candidate in the 2008 municipal election, is running for the Greens.
He wants to offer voters more selection than just the Liberals or NDP.
"It seemed like there were just two and I couldn't vote for either of them."
Patterson, an electrical engineer who cycles to his job in Langley, wants to see more green space required in high-density developments, though he realizes that is a local issue. In Europe, there's high density and lots of green space. "We don't seem to do that. We just seem to jam everything in."
Better transit into Vancouver, such as express buses out of Maple Ridge, is another priority.
Pope said his party opposes both the Kinder Morgan twinning of the oil pipeline from Alberta to the Lower Mainland, as well as the Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat and Black Press owner David Black's plan for an oil refinery in Kitimat.
"I've got concerns about taking our natural resources and trying to sell them in a hurry to someone else, rather than developing them more at a more reasonable rate and saving some of it for our kids."