Name: Christian Cowley
Occupation: executive-director, CEED Centre Society
Q1. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected or re-elected as a Maple Ridge councillor?
1: I have a MBA and am financially literate. I initiated numerous community development activities as the CEED Centre’s executive-director for the past seven years. Most importantly, I forge partnerships between key groups that get things done in this community. I lead the Wednesday community discussions in Port Haney that prompted council to fund the neighbourhood change initiative. I set up the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows environmental council, which is holding senior governments accountable for protecting the Alouette watershed. I helped formulate the municipal agriculture plan as vice-chair. I started the Aldridge Acres Connex school farm and played key roles in developing the school neighbourhood gardens.
Q2. Provide two examples of council’s actions over the past three years and explain why or why not you support them.
2. Council has taken at least three steps to revitalize downtown that I applaud. It purchased 14 unsightly properties in the core for resale as a single development. This has a good chance of stimulating attractive development in the right place – downtown. It implemented an incentive package for SmartGrowth-compliant developments. And it financed the Port Haney Neighbourhood Change Initiative to rebuild the community from within, a principle critical to success.
I deplore council’s waste of $180,000 of taxpayer money for the Albion flats consultation, when it ignored the recommendations stemming from the process, and its frequent amendments of the OCP for housing outside the urban boundary, which only increases our taxes, decreases livability and make us more car-dependent with all the attendant ills of traffic jams, schools in the wrong places, and poorly accessible shopping.
Q3. Do you support the 13-per-cent increase (over three years) in councillor’s salaries approved last summer? Why or why not? Explain what you would do if elected.
3. No, I do not support a 13-per-cent increase in councillor salaries. That is out of step with the state of the economy and increases available to workers, public and private. I would support increases indexed to inflation. I would rather have a citizen’s panel set the wages for all political offices – a panel randomly selected from the voters list. I would put this forward as a motion if elected.