(City of Maple Ridge) Maple Ridge council: Craig Speirs, Gordy Robson, Kiersten Duncan, Nicole Read, Corisa Bell, Tyler Shymkiw and Bob Masse.

Maple Ridge council will stay at seven

Expanding to nine revisited in 2022

Maple Ridge council is going to remain a seven-member council until past the next election in 2018, at least.

Council decided Tuesday to stay at its present size even though the Community Charter says that cities with more than 50,000 people should have a nine-member council.

But most on council said it wasn’t worth the extra cost. Councillors make about $38,000 a year.

“I think there’s clearly an interest from our community at increasing our numbers,” said Coun. Kiersten Duncan.

She and other councillors said the workload on civic politicians has increased.

“Realistically, it’s beyond full-time. There is no break. It’s a tremendous amount of work.”

Mayor Nicole Read pointed out that increasing council to nine members is a recommendation from the Mayor’s Open Government Task Force and favoured allowing residents to vote on the question in the 2018 civic elections.

Coun. Corisa Bell said council needs to function as a unit before expanding.

Bell, along with Couns. Bob Masse, Tyler Shymkiw and Gordy Robson, favoured keeping council at its present size and having the next council revisit the topic in 2022.

Robson said he couldn’t see why “people would want nine of us instead of seven.

“It would make meetings longer and it would cost more money,” he added.

Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, the District of North Vancouver and New Westminster all have seven-member councils with populations greater than 50,000.

Maple Ridge’s current population is about 82,000. Kamloops, Victoria, Prince George and Nanaimo all have nine-member councils.