Speirs: Need to find a way to say yes to housing homeless

#MRvotes2018: Says he can give leadership that works for all of the city

Craig Speirs

Craig Speirs

Craig Speirs, for mayor.

• Occupation:

Retired B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch employee, presently on city council.

• Political experience/qualifications for running in this election:

Volunteer in every municipal, provincial and federal election for past 30 years; mayoral candidate 1996; council candidate 1999; elected to city council for four consecutive terms, elected to council 2014, for fifth term.

Council liaison duties in 2018: Maple Ridge heritage commission; Maple Ridge agricultural advisory committee; UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest; municipal advisory committee on accessibility and inclusiveness.

Other positions currently held: committee member with the Metro Vancouver utilities committee; director with the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport Society, director with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

Federal candidate 2011; organizer for Sensible B.C. campaign.

Five years as chair of the Maple Ridge committee for B.C.’s Children’s Hospital. Our signature event was the Teddy Bear Tea and Clinic

Six years as a director of the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society. Four years on the board of directors for the CEED center as vice-chair, as well as 13 years as a member of Compassionate Friends, a self-help group for bereaved parents, the last six as leader. Three years on the Community Heritage Commission, two as chair. Three years on the Haney Farmers Market as vice-chair

• Reasons for running:

I am running for mayor because I believe in strong, consistent and compassionate leadership that works for the entire community, not just special interests. The last four years have seen the most progressive council in Maple Ridge history and I want to build on that legacy. I don’t see either of my opponents as progressive or innovative and at this time, I am the only one that fits the bill. I have never coveted the mayor’s position, but now I feel compelled to serve.

• What do you consider to be the top two issues this election and how would you address them?

Housing is one and it’s not just homelessness. We have a crisis on our hand because of a lack of affordable and low-cost rentals from years of neglect, especially from the previous two councils. They were too afraid to act and now we have a real problem. The opposition to housing, encouraged by Mike Morden, started as soon as we tried to get the provincial government to the table to provide shelter for a growing homeless population.

The government responded in a positive way because it recognized that we had a real issue. MLAs of the day caved to the pressure and forced us to seek other solutions and we did and that one was killed by the same MLAs. The new government came forward with a huge investment and then council killed the proposal. None of the proposals made it to a public hearing so we could hear from the public. We need to find a way to say yes to housing the homeless.

Economic development is number two. We have restructured our economic development division and now have a lean, responsive and modern made-in-Maple Ridge approach to economic development. Instead of looking to farmland for smokestack development, we are now looking at it for food, fun and adventure.

Our natural environment is meant for tourism. We understand that to get the employers we want, we need to provide a quality lifestyle for their employees. Our new community amenity contribution program is collecting money from development so we will have money to build housing, recreation and cultural assets to improve our lifestyle. The bonus is we all get to live in a beautiful and engaging community.

I was raised in New Westminster and then moved with my family to Maple Ridge in 1973. I am constantly reminded of the quality of life a person can enjoy when you can live, work, play and raise a family within this community. I am always looking for opportunities to create local employment so others can enjoy that synergy.

I’ve learned that a group of citizens working together for a common cause can create an incredibly positive effect. If the arts reflect the health of a community, volunteerism reflects the heart and in my experience, this community has a large, healthy heart.

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

Just Posted

Maple Ridge artist Zoran Malinovski has a new online exhibition called What’s Happening. (Angie Malinovski/Special to The News)
Exhibition by Maple Ridge artist brings environment back to the forefront

Zoran Malinovski’s online exhibition called What’s Happening

Maureen Blamey is a seniors outreach social worker with the geriatrics team. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
New geriatrics team to help seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

The Seniors Service Team was formed to improve the quality of life for pre-frail and frail, medically complex seniors

Baillie House long-term care is located at Ridge Meadows Hospital. (Google Maps)
Five people test positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge’s Baillie House

Long-term care facility is one month removed from its last outbreak

Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows MLA Beare performs one of first official acts in new office

Order permitting use of additional communication tools in public sector during pandemic extended

Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)
Pitt Meadows city hall and residents oppose new CP Rail operation

Company announces plans for CP Logistics Park: Vancouver

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

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

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

Most Read