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‘City’ of Maple Ridge to vote

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The people of Maple Ridge likely will decide if they want to be called a city.

Staff say the issue must be decided through the alternative approval process, in which residents have a month to vote at municipal hall. If more than 10 per cent of voters wish to do so, the issue can be forced to referendum.

Council was to decide whether to proceed at its Tuesday meeting.

“It’s my belief that the benefits are really, certainly better,” than any downside, economic development manager Sandy Blue told council Monday.

Blue says in a report that a municipality must have a population of more than 5,000 to be considered a city and that Maple Ridge’s population is now at 77,402.

Changing to city status could remove any confusion between the school district and the municipal district.

“A change in designation to city would help alleviate confusion, particularly for prospective investors and companies … “ she said in a report.

But the strongest reason for changing labels is the perception that a district is a small town, while a city means an urban area.

Becoming a city could show a stronger image for the community and could help grow its economy.

Council didn’t discuss the topic and referred it to council’s regular meeting Tuesday night.

If the issue passes the alternative approval process, the district can request the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to change Maple Ridge from district to city. That could take about six months, with the changeover taking effect this year, coinciding with Maple Ridge’s 140th birthday.

Blue said the city could use the phrase, “Maple Ridge, a city 140 years in the making.”

Coun. Al Hogarth, who raised the issue last year, said the change was “long overdue.”

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin favours becoming a city, providing it doesn’t cost much.

 

Staff say the total cost would be $3,000, including the alternative approval process.

 

 

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