A fifth candidate has come forward to challenge for the mayor’s chair in Maple Ridge.
Mike Shields, a former Pitt Meadows resident who now lives in Maple Ridge, is competing against Mike Morden, Craig Speirs, Ernie Daykin and Doug Blamey.
Shields was raised in Pitt Meadows, attended UBC and played on the school’s football team, winning the Vanier Cup in 1986. Previously, he ran federally for the National Party of Canada in 1993.
If elected mayor, he’d propose that the city rezone, then sell the land on which Anita Place Tent City is located to a private developer and use the money to reduce taxes or to help homeless camp residents transition to better alternatives.
He’d also try to convey the message to city staff that “the homeless camp on public property is priority number 10 from now on, not number one.”
He admits that sounds like an easy answer and the camp could relocate, but that area has been planned for a park, he added.
After homelessness, Shields also wants to redevelop downtown Maple Ridge.
“In the midst of the biggest housing boom any of us can imagine, the first thing I would do … in trying to make that downtown a European public square or a thoroughfare or something like that.
“The downtown core could be revitalized and turned into a really nice area, as opposed to a not economically viable community at the moment, as far as I see it.”
He said there’s lots of money that’s looking to invest in real estate in the Metro Vancouver area.
“I’d be surprised that you can’t zone it in such a way … as to make it economically attractive to them.”
In addition, he calls for a more business-friendly approach at city hall.
Shields is also a former newspaper columnist and last year organized the SFU Philosopher’s Cafe sessions at Maple Ridge’s Arts Centre Theatre.
“Nonetheless, my proposed community solutions probably derive more from insights gained via decades of hockey with local RCMP officers and firefighters, plus life-long friendships with local small business owner-operators,” he writes.
After UBC, Shields got a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and now has a career in venture capital, which invests in projects throughout Asia.
He runs his business from his home in Silver Valley in north Maple Ridge.
He said made his decision to run at the last minute after seeing other candidates’ platforms, which had “much of the same old, same old and [were] principally based on raising money to advertise their name.”
Shields said he won’t accept campaign donations and, if elected, will only run for one term.