Name: Alex Pope.
Occupation: computer programmer
Q1. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected or re-elected as a Maple Ridge councillor?
1: I have been a member of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows bicycle advisory committee for four years and chair of the committee for two years. In that time we have seen a few minor improvements to cycling infrastructure, but I would like to see improvements for cycling in Maple Ridge given a higher priority in the budgeting process. If elected, I would ask to increase cycling funding to three per cent of the Maple Ridge transportation services budget. I believe this can be done by reallocating existing funding and not increasing taxes beyond the already-budgeted four per cent increase. This doesn’t sound like much, but is a significant increase from what we are currently spending and should be enough, by taking advantage of matching funding from senior governments, to build a separated multi-use trail from 203rd to 240th over a five-year period.
Q2. Provide two examples of council’s actions over the past three years and explain why or why not you support them.
2: I commend the current council for the work that has been done to promote investment in the downtown core. We are seeing this work starting to pay off with the announcements of the arrival of Thrifty’s foods and Target to Haney Place Mall over the next two years and businesses participating in the façade improvement program (in partnership with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association). I support continuing and expanding these investment programs to attract light industrial, office-based business to the downtown core in order to increase the number of local well-paying jobs in our community.
Q3. Do you support the 13-per-cent increase (over three years) in councillor’s salaries approved last summer? Why or why not? Explain what you would do if elected.
3: Mayor and council salaries should be tied to the British Columbia Consumer Price Index (inflation rate). If we have a standard formula for an appropriate annual adjustment, it takes this decision out of the hands of mayor and council – who probably shouldn’t be determining their own salary increases. I would suggest the last increase be rolled back and this formula be applied instead.