An entrepreneur who runs a specialty bakery in downtown Maple Ridge is running for city council.
Rebecca Stiles has lived in Maple Ridge for the last 15 years, and said she was thrilled to return back to B.C. to raise her daughters after a decade in Alberta.
Her husband Brent and herself were both were raised in Prince George, where Stiles also completed a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies at the UNBC campus.
Stiles said she “loved every minute of that experience, garnering a real understanding of the relationships between individuals, governments, NGOs, interest groups and the inherent challenges in meeting the unique needs of all.”
She knew she would eventually find her way to public service.
Stiles spent the past 11 years running a specialty, gluten-free bakery in downtown Maple Ridge with her best friend – a result of both women helping loved ones with complicated diets to comply with their health struggles.
Zena’s Bakery has been a labour of love, but also a tough go over the last few years through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stiles said she has appreciated Maple Ridge as a place to raise a family, and for the robust community spirit.
“As a small business owner, I’m cognizant of the things going on in the downtown core,” she said. “I have a lot of thoughts on homelessness, and some of the long-term, pragmatic solutions I would like to promote.”
Some of her ideas include:
• Exchanging shelter beds for affordable housing
• Developing a walkable downtown “village” with cafes, pubs, shops.
• Establishing a broader tax base, and simplifying permitting processes.
• Advocating for dormant farmland to be used for food production
• Expanded rapid bus and transit
Her volunteer efforts have been mostly focused on minor sports, Cathy Emmerson’s non-profit PREFER or Poverty Reduction, Education and Family Empowerment in Rwanda project, and more recently in driving awareness and funds to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
If she is successful in this election, Stiles would look forward to contributing to long-term improvements in the Maple Ridge community. She said she is passionate about creating local strategies for tough issues, as well as collaboration and building strong relationships with the provincial and federal governments in order to access every resource available to Maple Ridge.