Maple Ridge candidate Chris O’ Brian’s reasons for running in this civic election were omitted from The News’s Oct. 17 election guide.
• Reason for running:
The reason I’m running for council is because I love this city, and having lived here since 2006, I wanted to see some lasting positive changes for my family and other families for many years in the future. I have noticed in the last four years, little change from our municipal government, except for greater urban sprawl, homelessness and traffic congestion.
The current mayor stated she would “resolve” the homeless issue four years ago. In fact, it has become much worse. Since 2014, the homeless population has increased by 48 per cent. By delaying their access to housing, more homeless people have joined those at Anita Place Tent City. I plan to give them access to effective treatment once they are housed at the new modular housing and other housing placements using the Recovery-Based Treatment Model.
Having worked in mental health and addictions for over 20 years and with my extensive education and background, I’m well suited to advocate for change in this area. I propose that the treatment teams have their office inside the modular housing on Royal Crescent to have close and continual access to those with addiction issues. I also will lobby the provincial government on their promise of building more treatment centres here in Maple Ridge. And I will advocate for additional types of treatment. In addition to drug and alcohol counselling, I will propose psychosocial rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and an expansion of their support networks to allow them to build resiliency and have hope. They need to be engaged in treatment early on and it must be long-term.