Couns. Speirs, King say farewell

Linda King and Craig Speirs no longer on city council in Maple Ridge.

Linda King and Craig Speirs

Linda King and Craig Speirs

Tuesday was the last council meeting for two long-serving, left-leaning Maple Ridge politicians.

Linda King, after serving six terms – starting in 1988 – didn’t run in Saturday’s municipal elections, while Craig Speirs lost a close battle, after serving four terms.

District spokesman Fred Armstrong said councillors commented that debate and differences always stayed at the table and didn’t carry over to personal relationships.

Speirs’ colleagues “appreciated his candor and recognized he brought strong points of view” to the table, Armstrong said.

Council complimented King for always raising good questions, for often changing other councillors’ positions on an issue, and for being able to explore issues from different angles.

King, in turn, wished the incoming council luck and didn’t want to make any assumptions before the new council started its work.

Like her colleague Speirs, who took an advertisement out on the topic during last week’s election, King disagrees with the carving up of Maple Ridge’s rural areas into one-acre residential parcels.

“If I had a magic wand, I would stop this sort of estate-type of development that’s happening on our rural lands. I think these developments are sprawl.”

King is worried about failing septic systems for such developments and their impacts on streams. “I would actually want to get rid of that category in the OCP [official community plan], if I could.”

Last year, King led the initiative to remove the moment of prayer that started council meetings on Tuesdays with “moments of reflection,” during which councillors observe a moment of silence for a particular theme that evening.

That seems to be working well, she said. Tuesday, council gave a moment of silence in tribute to the elections that just took place and for those that were unable to take place in other countries.

No other Lower Mainland municipality starts its meetings with prayers.

King is pleased with the progress made in developing the downtown, and Alouette Heights transitional housing project on Brown Avenue, which opens this spring, and the opening of the new SPCA building on Jackson Road.

“I think there’s been some really good accomplishments during this term.”