Vote like a gardener

Mike Lascelle points out some hot topics to consider in the upcoming municipal election.

When casting a vote for any candidate

When casting a vote for any candidate

I know that most of you were expecting an article about getting the garden ready for the colder weather or perhaps winter-flowering shrubs this week, but there is something else on the table that is a little more pressing.

It is going to occur on Nov. 15, and you should mark that date on your calendar, as 75 per cent of you missed the last one.

That pressing appointment is our municipal election, which matters even more now as the terms are being extended from three to four years.

Communities all around us are changing at breakneck speeds and it only takes a quick trip over the Pitt River Bridge to the quagmire called Port Coquitlam to realize that both Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are on the cusp of that rampant development that often deprives a community of its very identity.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that we need both residential housing to accommodate all those who want to live here and businesses to provide local jobs and tax revenue.

But where and when these take place is critical in our development as a sustainable city.

With that in mind, here are a few ‘hot topics’ to consider when you cast your vote this year.

• Public transportation: Having two daughters who relied on public transit for their commutes to university, I can say with all certainty that it is absolutely inadequate and overpriced for the service provided.

The problem is TransLink, a bloated bureaucracy that has proven itself incapable of making financially responsible decisions, preferring to gorge on additional taxes or defer the hard decisions onto local mayors.

• Protecting the environment: We live in an incredibly beautiful place with its lakes, rivers, mountains and abundant wildlife, but all of that is at risk when we just look at it as stream setbacks that need reducing or something in the way of development.

• Homelessness: If you are old enough to remember the drastic provincial cuts to mental health supports in the 1980s, then it is easy to see the direct correlation between this and the increase of homelessness. Local politicians need to pressure the province to fund mental health issues and provide adequate subsidized housing.

• Development: Should we develop Maple Ridge from the city core and work our way out? Why are residential developments being allowed to proceed in areas far from schools and other important municipal amenities? Both are important questions that candidates need to have an answer for before they receive your vote.

• Motive: When casting a vote for any candidate, you should be asking yourself what is their motive for standing for election. Do they just have a political axe to grind, are they seeking to influence development decisions for reasons other than what’s best for the community, or do they just have a genuine desire to make Maple Ridge a better place to live?

Voting for a provincial or federal party is easy when compared to the individuals we elect on the municipal level, especially when 26 people are running for council, five for mayor and 12 for school board. I guess what I am really trying to emphasize to all you gardeners out there, is that if you can chose one tulip out of the hundreds available, then surely you can take a little time to vet your candidates and vote for those that represent your community values.

Because not voting just means that those that do are given much more power than they deserve.


Mike Lascelle is a local nursery manager and gardening author (

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows resident Bruno James de Faria shared a picture of Pitt River Bridge taken from the West Coast Express. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Commute flies by – literally and figuratively

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Two people were sent to hospital after a fire was discovered in a north Pitt Meadows home just before the lunch hour on Sunday, (Nov. 29, 2020). (Shane MacKichan/Special to The News)
Couple burned fighting fire in their Pitt Meadows house

Two occupants were transported to hospital while firefighters battle a blaze in a Harris Road home

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

Supt. Jennifer Hyland is the officer in charge of the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment. (The News/files)
Ridge Meadows RCMP release new strategic plan

Plan details what the force will be focused on for the next three years

The new business park at 12835 Lilley Drive in East Maple Ridge has five live/work units on site. (Ronan O’Doherty/ The News)
Maple Ridge’s newest business park tries to set itself apart from competition

More live-work units, green features make it more than a concrete box, developer says

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Most Read