Election 2014: Many voices sought in Maple Ridge: Meadus

Candidate wants to get people involved and talking about the issues

Chelsa Meadus wants to change things up a bit this election. Whether she gets elected Nov. 15 to Maple Ridge council is secondary to the process of public participation, in which voters themselves will speak about the problems and find the answers.

With her knowledge of livestreaming events, Meadus is inviting people to her house to discuss seniors issues, youth and homelessness in Maple Ridge, with the proceedings broadcast online for all to see.

She also wants to broadcast one of the all candidates’ meetings.

“It’s about talking about what the community issues are and talking about what the public thinks should happen. By doing, that [way] you create more engagement.”

She says that using technological advances now available will save time and money.

Some people ask how a municipal council actually will make decisions with so many voices, but Meadus says after wide-ranging discussions with input from the community, the right decisions will be obvious.

“It just becomes a formality to have a government sitting around a table,” Meadus said.

“The more opinions, the more engagement, it will actually make decisions easier.”

Meadus has a webstreaming company that allows her to offer such features and has assembled an eight-person team to help her win a seat.

Former school trustee and former federal Liberal candidate Mandeep Bhuller is helping her with campaign strategy, while Gay Conn, constituency assistant for Liberal MLA Doug Bing, is managing finances.

Meadus has been involved with several community events in Maple Ridge.

“I think I’ve been involved in some way in almost every special event this community has had,” she says on her website.

That includes Rivers Heritage Day, Earth Day, B.C. Summer Games, B.C. Disability Games, Communities in Bloom, Canada Day, the Golden Ears Transitition Initiative Festival, Cops for Cancer, Golden Harvest and the jazz and blues festival.

She adds that her experience in neighbourhood development, youth services, as a volunteer and non-profit manager, programer and special events manager, combined with owning her own business, prepares her for this “dynamic challenge.”

One of the reasons she decided to run in this election is because there will be three vacancies on council. Mike Morden is giving up his seat to run for mayor and councillors Cheryl Ashlie and Judy Dueck are not seeking re-election.

“It’s just the right time for me, in terms of experience,” Meadus said.