Developers court civic candidates in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

Pitt council hopefuls offered campaign contributions

Councillors Doug Bing and John Becker asked Smart!Centres for permission to put election signs on their Lougheed Hwy. property.

Developers and the companies that build homes and malls in Pitt Meadows are eager to contribute to the campaigns council candidates.

This week, the city, along with Maple Ridge, ranked second as the best place in British Columbia to invest in for the third straight year.

Bruce Bell, seeking a second term on Pitt council, has received calls offering to help fund his campaign from three different developers.

“I have been offered money from developers this time and I’ve turned it all down,” said Bell, adding when he first ran in 2008, only one developer approached him.

Bell doesn’t need their cash because he’s been saving up for his campaign and estimates it will cost him $2,500.

“I planned ahead,” he said.

“It’s a personal thing. You have to be comfortable with what you are doing. It keeps you clean. You should not only be above board, but appear to be above board.”

Although none revealed who the developers are, other incumbents are also fielding similar calls.

Gwen O’Connell has been approached by developers, but has not decided whether to accept their contributions.

Mayoral candidate Deb Walters was concerned when developers started phoning her, but won’t discuss the issue further until after the election.

“They are ramping up this time and it’s totally different feeling, as well.”

Coun. John Becker, who is also vying for the mayor’s position, feels strongly about the notion of candidates accepting developer contributions.

“I am hearing that people are concerned about individuals accepting campaign contributions from developers because of the obvious perception of a conflict of interest. For this reason, I have not accepted campaign contributions offered from developers,” he said. “The people deserve to know who is taking developer’s money in this election. This issue of land development in Pitt Meadows is something we need to consider carefully, and with a healthy dose of caution. The issue is so important that before the election, candidates should disclose if they are accepting money from developers.”

And it isn’t just incumbents who are being courted by big money.

Mike Stark, running as a candidate for the first time, was surprised to receive a call from one developer, offering to contribute to his campaign. Stark thought of himself as a “nobody.”

He did not accept the offer.

“When a developer or anyone comes before city council to put forward a development or project, I want to be able to judge that project on its merit,” Stark added.

SmartCentres, a mall developer whose clients include Walmart, is allowing candidates to put up signs on the property it owns along Lougheed Highway, just past the Meadows Gardens Golf Club.

Spokesperson Sandra Kaiser said SmartCentres will not be making financial contributions to any municipal candidates in Pitt Meadows or Maple Ridge.

See related story:

Developers court Ridge candidates

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Service Canada office in downtown Maple Ridge reopened on Wednesday. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Dalton rises in House of Commons to ask for Service Canada office opening

Office in Maple Ridge had been closed since start of pandemic, opened Wednesday

Maggie Coles-Lyster leads the pack during the annual racing of Jeremy’s Roubaix on Sunday.
After long break due to pandemic, bike racing returns to BC

Rock the Ridge brings racing back to Pitt Meadows Sunday

BC NDP candidate Lisa Beare said her party would replace Pitt Meadows secondary if re-elected. (Special to The News)
Election promises should bring new secondary school to Pitt Meadows

School board will be talking to new education minister soon: Carreras

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: Bad apples ruining social housing for all

Writer critical of system that penalizes law-biding residents over homeless who break the laws

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Most Read