At least one new councillor and mayor for Maple Ridge

At least one new councillor and mayor for Maple Ridge

Bob Masse joins mayor Nicole Read saying it’s enough

Maple Ridge council will have a new mayor and at least one new councillor after the Oct. 20 civic election.

Mayor Nicole Read said in October that she’s not seeking a second term, and Coun. Bob Masse said Tuesday that he doesn’t want a third term on council.

“I’m officially not running,” Masse said Tuesday. “Seven years is enough for me.”

He added there are many other ways of contributing to the community besides running for council.

Masse said in today’s political climate, it’s hard to be middle of the road, to try to reach agreement and compromise on issues.

“It’s really hard to have that kind of discussion any more … and I find that extremely frustrating.”

He also doesn’t like the effect that social media has on politics.

Other councillors, though, are reserving their decisions.

“I don’t have anything to say about it right now,” said Coun. Tyler Shymkiw, who’s serving his first term on council.

“I’ll make a statement in the coming weeks.”

Coun. Gordy Robson, who was mayor of Maple Ridge from 2005 to 2008, said he’ll decide on whether to serve another term in August, when he discusses the issue with his wife and doctor. He’s particularly proud of the current council’s implementation of community amenity charges and raising development cost charges – to get builders to pay for their projects. That’s bringing in another $5 million a year to the city, he said.

Coun. Craig Speirs also noted the increase to development charges as an accomplishment of the current council.

“We did a lot of good work,” Speirs said.

He also cited the list of recreation projects currently before the public. If approved, the city will borrow about $50 million to build a new Albion Community Centre, two small parks in Silver Valley, improve Hammond Community Centre and Whonnock Lake community centre, help improve the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, build two new artificial sports fields and build a new sheet of ice at Planet Ice.

“We’ve got to build a lot of amenities for this community.”

He says Maple Ridge will need a second leisure centre or aquatic centre in the eastern part of the city. A consultation process on that is now underway.

He also credited council for raising the issue of homelessness and forcing the provincial government to deal with it.

“We have a way forward and we’ll keep working on getting solutions for homelessness, as soon as possible.”

He plans on running next October, for a sixth term, saying that he can provide some continuity on council to the new members.

“A long as my health is good, you bet,” he said about seeking election.

Former mayor Ernie Daykin is also thinking running again. “I’m very seriously considering it.” Many people are asking him about that. He’ll likely make his decision in late spring or summer.

Couns. Kiersten Duncan and Corisa Bell didn’t return phone calls.

Maple Ridge will remain a seven-person council through this election, leaving the decision to expand to nine councillors up to the next council. The Community Charter says that cities with more than 50,000 are supposed to have a nine-person council.