There will be a change of mayor in Maple Ridge after the 2018 municipal elections, and politicos will soon be positioning themselves for a run at it.
Ernie Daykin, who was deposed by Mayor Nicole Read in the 2014 election, was shopping with his wife when he learned about Read’s decision to not run in 2018. Texts started coming in from people urging him to run again, he said.
Read’s early announcement caught Daykin off guard.
“I was surprised, to be perfectly frank,” he said.
He said he saw another mayor who quietly told his friends he would not be running again, well in advance of the campaign.
“And it quickly turned into two or three on council vying for who’s going to be the next mayor,” he said.
Daykin said he will make a decision about whether to run for public office, and it would be his decision, regardless of Read’s involvement.
“There are days when I’m ready to start pounding in the signs, and go for it,” he said.
But it is also a challenging job, and he’s “enjoying the kids and grandkids.”
Daykin said Read has had a rough ride, with threats causing her to miss work, constantly being trolled in social media, and impacts on family members.
“I kind of feel bad for her, the kind of things she has gone through,” he said.
“But I know she will but her full attention to everything until the day she steps out of office.”
He predicts voters will judge city hall on what happens with the people at Anita Place Tent City.
“This council will be defined by its work on the homeless issue, fairly or unfairly.”
Daykin was on council for 14 years, including two terms as mayor, when Read came to power with 5,637 votes. Mike Morden was next with 4,825, followed by Daykin with 3,958, Graham Mowatt with 1,883 and Gary Cleave with 363.
Morden, a former councillor, said it is too early for him to announce a run at the mayoralty.
Mowatt will be running for a seat on council next time, not for mayor, but said he knows of at least four who will seek the top job.
Mowatt said there is nothing binding about Read’s announcement, and she could still change her mind and run if the climate looks favourable.
“You never know,” he cautioned.
He was critical of the job Read has done.
“She promised to end homelessness, and in my opinion it’s been a heckuva lot worse,” he said. “Maple Ridge has never been more divided.”