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Coun. Bell considering run for mayor

Coun. Corisa Bell is considering a run for mayor of Maple Ridge. - News files
Coun. Corisa Bell is considering a run for mayor of Maple Ridge.
— image credit: News files

The first-time politician who’s shaken up Maple Ridge council is thinking about running for mayor, if she finds  enough support.

“I haven’t 100 per cent decided that,” Coun. Corisa Bell said Tuesday. “I’m considering that, but I haven’t made any decisions.”

Bell created a stir in the past year by questioning council’s budget processes and spending. One of her comments from a June 17 meeting led to the district editing a video recording of the meeting before posting it online.

Bell said over the past year many people have asked her to seek the mayor’s chair. That means a lot to her because it shows she’s on the right track with the public.

But, she added, just because someone says she should run for mayor doesn’t mean she’ll have enough support to do so.

“That is a big decision to make.”

Instead, she wants to wait until June to see if she has enough support. Bell said slates, or groups of people supporting candidates, are being formed, but doesn’t want to join one.

“If I were to participate in a slate, I would organize one myself.”

A team could really bring a vision for Maple Ridge to life, she added.

But voter turnout needs to improve.

In November 2011, only 25 per cent of 51,000 eligible voters cast a municipal ballot.

“We really need a better turnout,” Bell said. “People have to truly believe that when they participate, their participation means something.”

She said public feedback into the district’s budgeting process needs to improve so people feel they are having an impact.

Daykin welcomed Bell running for mayor.

However, he added that business guidelines determine priorities and budget targets, and that Bell could have voted against the budget several times during budget discussions over the past year.

Daykin also said that continuity on council and in the mayor’s chair has helped Maple Ridge and said he’s worked to bring Target and Thrifty Foods to the downtown.

Coun. Cheryl Ashlie is supporting Daykin, but won’t be running again herself.

“He’s a good mayor. He’s in it for the right reasons. He works hard. He understands the issues. He just doesn’t have any personal agendas that I see in other people. I think he’s got the right stuff.”

Ashlie said Bell, if she runs for mayor, has to be challenged on her statements about council. Ashlie said council decisions are made after thorough research and proper process and that councillors can give their input on budget decisions throughout the year.

“I really think the next three years are so important for this community.”

Ashlie, though, is done with municipal politics at the end of the current term. She’ll stay on as constituency assistant for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing, but won’t seek a third term on Maple Ridge council and instead wants to finish her university degree.

“I don’t want to be a career politician. Not that I don’t love politics – I love it – but I need to figure out my next step. And you can’t do it when you’re immersed in politics to the degree that I am.”

Coun. Mike Morden has also stated his intention to run for Maple Ridge mayor.

 

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