This past Tuesday, Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge councils swore in a crop of new civic leaders.
The school trustees were newcomers Gabe Liosis and Hudson Campbell, and incumbents Elaine Yamamoto, Mike Murray, Kim Dumore, Pascale Shaw and Kathleen Sullivan.
We’ve got new mayors in both municipalities, multiple new members on the councils, and several new trustees. It’s one the most thorough changings of the guard in Maple Ridge in many years.
We want to wish our new leaders well.
They come with a certain amount of experience. In the mayor’s chairs, Pitt Meadows’ Nicole MacDonald is no naive outsider.
And she returns to city hall with a battle-tested council that includes incumbents Mike Hayes, Tracy Elke (Miyashita), Bob Meachen and Gwen O’Connell, along with Mike Manion and Alison Evans.
That MacDonald was acclaimed, and the current councillors returned to office, shows the Pitt Meadows public has confidence in their team at city hall.
And likewise, while Maple Ridge’s new leader Dan Ruimy is new to civic politics, he brings a boatload of experience from his term as Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge’s Member of Parliament – working in the halls at the federal level for four years.
His team, A Better Maple Ridge, was elected in its entirety – Jenny Tan, Sunny Schiller, Onyeka Dozie and Korleen Carreras. They are green politicians, and this council will benefit from the experience of Judy Dueck, who has been elected to her sixth term on council, and fellow incumbent Ahmed Yousef, who garnered more votes than any other councillor.
Many of the new council members and trustees have the kinds of community ties, work experience, and education that can serve them well.
So far as we have advice to offer, it would be to try and chart a course between bold action and empathy.
On the action side, remember that while our municipal politicians may not have the powers that their provincial or federal counterparts do, they are the closest to the ground. They can effect meaningful change and see the effects of that change quickly, whether that’s adding safer crosswalks and bike lanes, or building new playgrounds for kids in a growing community.
When there’s a real need, it’s better to move swiftly than to get bogged down in endless consultations.
The other side of the coin, empathy, is about understanding that there are many voices in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. There is no one true path forward, there are many. Sometimes, choices have to be made, final decisions handed down. Councillors can only amend so often, before they have to vote, yes or no.
But those votes should be tempered with the knowledge that every decision will affect many lives in the community.
The next four years will doubtless have their frustrations. But hopefully, there will be more triumphs and successes along the way.
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