Third candidate in running for Maple Ridge mayor

Tyler Shymkiw (left) sits next to Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters, whose campaign he worked on, on election night. - The News/Files
Tyler Shymkiw (left) sits next to Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters, whose campaign he worked on, on election night.
— image credit: The News/Files

He managed Deb Walters successful run for Pitt Meadows mayor in 2011, and now Tyler Shymkiw is seeing if his grass-roots campaigning will work in his own bid for the top position on Maple Ridge council.

Shymkiw made the announcement Tuesday on Facebook and by e-mail, saying that he’s entering the mayoralty race in this November’s elections.

With Ernie Daykin seeking a third term as mayor and Coun. Mike Morden seeking the same position, it’s now a three-way race.

Shymkiw is former president of the Friends in Need Food Bank Society and grew up in Maple Ridge. He also served three years on the parks and leisure services commission and runs a special effects film company, Patriot Networks.

Shymkiw said the district’s reputation as a place to raise families is eroding and needs correcting.

“A lot of it [the decision to run] was just about the appetite for community change,” he said Tuesday.

Shymkiw, 27, is a B.C. Liberal party member and worked on former MLA Ken Stewart’s campaigns in 2005 and 2009.

During his leadership of Walters’ campaign, Shymkiw said he focused on “going door to door, coffee parties and really connecting with people on an individual basis.

“We’ve seen in Maple Ridge a turnout that’s lower than the regional average and I think reconnecting with voters is going to be key in this campaign.”

He said others are backing him in his bid.

“I have significant support. I’ll let them speak for themselves on that.”

Coun. Corisa Bell welcomed the announcement.

“Fantastic news,” she said Tuesday.

She was hoping someone from the community would step forward, adding that Morden and Daykin were offering too much of the same thing.

“I continually hear the definite desire for change in Maple Ridge. I really believe that we need new vision and leadership.”

That’s also helped Bell decide her plans. She was considering running for mayor, but will now seek a second term on council. “Knowing that Tyler is going to run has helped me make my decision. I’m going to support Tyler.”

She said Shymkiw understands policy and can represent Maple Ridge at the regional level and said he could offer more leadership on council.

While candidates may work together, Shymkiw doesn’t believe slates or organized groups of candidates will run in the November election.

“That’s really not my approach to that.”

He said part of the mayor’s job is to create an environment where individual councillors can succeed.

“I think to some degree, that’s been a bit of a challenge over the last few years on council.”

He said he’s running for mayor to offer voters an alternative.

“We need to more pro-actively plan our transportation routes,” Shymkiw said.

“I think for democracy to function, people have to have real options. I just don’t feel those options were present.”

Shymkiw has a master’s degree in political science from SFU and is currently working on his doctorate.

He said Daykin is a “great guy. We just have a fundamental difference on policy.”

But Shymkiw is keeping specific policies under wraps for now.

He does, however, want more community consultation on the decade-old issue of Albion flats, where the District of Maple Ridge is involved in a land swap with Smart Centres to allow a shopping mall.

“It’s a little backwards that the district is going to do their consultation after negotiation.”

But still, he believes a good consultation process could be put in place after the agreement is reached. That could lead to a referendum on how to develop the Albion flats. “That will ultimately lay to rest longstanding issues in the area.”

His website also calls for more accountability and transparency and he wants to stop the compounding increases in property taxes.

• Tyler Shymkiw election campaign video.

Tyler Shymkiw Announces His Candidacy for Maple Ridge Mayor from Tyler on Vimeo.

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