A hockey, baseball and soccer coach and community volunteer says Maple Ridge needs more of its tax base to come from industry instead of the pockets of homeowners.
Alan Robbie, an engineering consultant, is running for Maple Ridge council after growing up here, then moving away and returning in 2003.
He supports the removal of 56 acres of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve proposed by the Golden Eagle Farm Group.
Maple Ridge council supported that application and forwarded it to the Agricultural Land Commission in June.
“You look at Pitt Meadows and what they’ve done since the Golden Ears Bridge opened, even prior to the tolls being removed, and they’ve gone with industrial development with quick access right in and out of the bridge and I think that Maple Ridge should kind of follow that path.”
Developing industrial land around Golden Ears Bridge will have the least impact on traffic as well.
“I think smart development in that area would be beneficial to the tax base while still looking at revitalizing the downtown core,” said Robbie, an engineering consultant.
His major concern, though, is homelessness and its effects and wants the city to lobby the province to provide more treatment beds for those with addiction problems. He also wants Fraser Health involved.
“The first thing that needs to be done is everybody needs proper medical assessment as to what the correct path for them is,” said Robbie.
Maple Ridge council, this May, rejected an 85-unit supportive housing unit calling for a more health-oriented model.
However, the province has not responded favourably to Maple Ridge’s request.
Fraser Health has also said it already provides health assessments at supportive housing projects.
Robbie said that some parts of Maple Ridge have deteriorated in the past dozen years, saying in previously there were just a few homeless people on the streets.
“At the end of the day, if somebody has a severe mental illness, it needs to be properly treated. It just can’t be left for them to decide on their own as to whether they’re going to seek the treatment that they need, if they’re unsafe to the public or themselves personally.”
Currently, police are spending much of their time doing social work, he added.
Maple Ridge is only a city of 80,000-plus people and the main focus in the election is homelessness because it’s become out of control, he added.
“Really, we need to meet the needs of the whole community.”