Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Doug Bing will seek a second term in next May’s provincial election and remains hopeful funding is forthcoming for a new school in Albion.
Bing said Monday that he’ll be acclaimed to run again for the Liberals as he’s been green-lighted by party headquarters to run again and no one else is challenging the nomination.
“I’m going to be running again,” said the former Pitt Meadows city councillor and retired dentist who was first elected in 2013.
And he hinted the province could be getting closer to announcing that there’s funding for a new elementary school in Albion on 104th Avenue.
The Maple Ridge-PItt Meadows school district has been waiting years for provincial funds in order to build the school and easy overcrowding and catchment area issues.
Bing said he’s feeling more hopeful about an announcement, though nothing is for sure. The new school actually would be in Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton’s riding.
The boundary between the two ridings is 224th Street.
Bing said both he had Dalton have been lobbying the education minister.
“For years, the student population has been dropping, but I think that it’s turning up now.”
As people flee expensive Vancouver, families are moving here, and those increased numbers could justify building a new school, Bing said.
He couldn’t guess when an announcement might happen.
“I know it’s moving up the list. We’re definitely near the top of list now.”
A number of new schools have already been announced in the past six months, he pointed out.
“I do ask, ‘Are we getting closer to the top?’ And they say, “Well, we’re not there yet, but we are moving up.’ I’m hopeful we’ll get it at some point.”
Last December, Education Minister Mike Bernier toured Albion elementary along with Bing and School District No. 42 chair Mike Murray and superintendent Sylvia Russell.
The school’s population is 30 per cent above the building’s capacity, and the provincial politicians heard that students who have moved across the street are not able to attend.
Trustees then made an hour-long pitch for a new school.
Bing is also happy with legislative changes made in 2015 regarding the party bus industry.
“I had a major part in having the rules changed.”
Maple Ridge resident Julie Raymond and her daughter Danielle have pressed for years to get tougher rules from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, following the death of Julie’s daughter Shannon Raymond, 16, in July 2008 after taking two ecstasy pills and drinking alcohol during a birthday celebration for a friend on a party bus.
Now, there are strict rules against promoting the use of alcohol in the buses, even though consuming alcohol in vehicles has long been against the law.
He pointed out the legislature resumes sitting next week to deal with Vancouver’s request to allow it to charge extra taxes on vacant homes.
Bing said the Union of B.C. Municipalities would have to make a similar request for the government to consider a province-wide tax.
Operators of party buses must also have special licences putting them under greater scrutiny.