Election 2014: Democracy in action in Maple Ridge

Election fair set for Sunday at ACT.

No one should complain they never had a chance to meet their candidates this Nov. 15 election.

Meet-and-greet sessions for Maple Ridge politicians have happened the last two weekends, while platforms have been discussed at two all-candidates sessions, one in Hammond and the other at Ridge Meadows Seniors Activity Centre.

This week, voters and candidates get a break for a few days, but on Sunday the campaign for voters’ hearts and minds resumes.

Back again this year on Sunday, Nov. 2, the Democracy Fair takes place in the Genstar Studio in the Arts Centre Theatre in downtown Maple Ridge.

The fair runs between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and will allow candidates for mayoralty, council and school board, to set up tables to chat with potential voters.

The next day on Monday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., the five mayoralty candidates duke it out at the Salvation Army’s Caring Place. Nicole Read, Michael Morden, Graham Mowatt, Ernie Daykin and Gary Cleave are all seeking the top spot.

A big turnout is expected and all five have confirmed their attendance.

Voters from all over Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have expressed “a keen interest in hearing what the candidates have to say in-person,” says Darrell Pilgrim, executive-director of the Caring Place.

“We are happy to provide a forum for the mayoral candidates to discuss their political platforms, especially their stance on the issue of poverty in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.”

People can park across the street at the Maple Ridge Baptist Church, and enter through the front doors of The Caring Place.

The next day, on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the mayoralty candidates will be at the Arts Centre Theatre at noon when the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce holds a debate during the chamber luncheon. The charge for that is $25. You can register on the chamber website.

Candidates for council may have already had their only two all-candidates debates last week because no further meetings have been scheduled.

Council candidate Morgan Jensen who’s organized the Vote Maple Ridge website, says regular council and school board meetings and other events are making it difficult to schedule election meetings this week.

He added the candidates running share similar views about Maple Ridge issues, such as the need to continue to improve the downtown and fight crime, while requiring smarter residential growth to preserve the city’s natural beauty.

“Everybody wants development. Everybody wants Maple Ridge to grow. Everybody just wants to do it the smartest way.”

No matter who’s elected, he said, there should be a good team on council with a range of experience.

“I’m not sure I’m going to vote for myself.”

 

Advance polls

For people who can’t make the Nov. 15 election day, several advance polls are available.

Saturday, Nov. 1, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at:

• Ridge Meadows Seniors Activity Centre, 12150 224 Street;

• Fraserview Village Small Hall, 22610 – 116 Avenue.

Wednesday, Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at:

• Maple Ridge City Hall, 11995 Haney Place.

Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at:

• Planet Ice, 23588 105 Avenue;

• Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, 11925 Haney Place;

• Maple Ridge Alliance Church, 20399 Dewdney Trunk Road.