Could MR council expand?

Citizens make suggestions for more open, accessible government

They’ve heard the ideas on how to open up Maple Ridge city hall, now the citizen’s representative committee will put them altogether and pass on the ideas to the politicians.

And one of those ideas could be for Maple Ridge to expand its council from seven to nine members.

“We had a really good turnout [June 3],” said Katherine Wagner, chair of the committee, also known as the citizen representatives working group.

“We had speakers for two hours and the room was packed.”

Two meetings were scheduled to allow public input. One was cancelled, leaving the other drawing all the input.

People were concerned about communications, fair processes, customer service and access to information at city hall, said Wagner.

They wanted to ensure information was accessible and easy to find.

“Sometimes you have to read between the lines,” about what people want.

One idea was to expand the size of council from seven to nine, which Maple Ridge is entitled to do based on its population.

That would allow more councillors to directly connect with the public.

Wagner likes the idea.

“It’s a huge workload on council.”

Operating an open government does take more resources, she added.

Some people from eastern Maple Ridge showed up saying they weren’t getting the information they needed on the medical marijuana facility being built on 272nd Street.

“The frustration I felt was they just felt they weren’t getting enough information.”

Wagner, who runs the Facebook group Maple Ridge Council Watch, said the more open a government is in its functions, “the less chance of anything untoward going on.”

Now that feedback has come in from the public via e-mail and the public meeting, the citizen’s group will compile a report for month end and present it to the mayor’s open government task force, composed of Mayor Nicole Read and Couns. Corisa Bell and Tyler Shymkiw.

“I assume the report is going to be made public,” said Wagner.

While the task force works on the grass roots input on making government more transparent, Maple Ridge council earlier approved two earlier recommendations from the task force.

Council earlier in the year approved the livestreaming of the council workshop meetings and committee of the whole meetings that take place on Mondays, continuing a process that was started by the previous council.

With regular Tuesday meetings also livestreamed, people can now watch all council meetings on their computer.

“I think that’s fabulous,” said Wagner. “I think it shows they’re really serious.”

Council has also ordered that basic information about contracts the city has signed be public.

Read also attended the public input session.

She agreed that city or mayoralty announcements made on social media also should be on the city’s website to ensure there is a record of communications.

Two letters released concerning the homeless camp on Cliff Avenue were posted on the Maple Ridge Resilience Initiative Facebook page but are not actually posted on the city’s website.


Just Posted

B.C. resident baffled about welcome mat theft

Security footage shows a woman and her dog taking the mat from the property on March 13

B.C. RCMP officer acquitted of 2013 assault of a man murdered days ago

One time Solicitor General John Les says officer deserves an apology from former RCMP superintendent

Memorial playground planned for B.C. RCMP officer killed by drunk driver

Victoria-area Rotarians raise $200,000 to honour Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s engineered wood leadership many years in the making

Cross-laminated timber is more than just high-rise material

Lower Mainland gangster with nationwide warrant arrested in Okanagan

Pas Boparai, 30, of Abbotsford was found in Kelowna thanks to tips from the public

Pacific Rim National Park mourns loss of ‘bright star’ killed in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Angela Rehhorn remembered for her enthusiasm, dedication and sense of adventure

Terry Fox’s iconic Ford Econoline Van front-and-centre at Vancouver International Auto Show

Chilliwack’s Darrell Fox says van takes people back 40 years ago to where they were when Terry ran

B.C. company gets $600,000 to build safe sailing app

The app will alert emergency contacts if boaters don’t arrive

Body found in Fraser River near Port Mann Bridge

The man’s body had been spotted by a boater earlier this week

Most Read