Election 2014: Mitchell wants more jobs for Maple Ridge

Candidate following council for the last three years

Don Mitchell doesn’t want to enter a race unprepared, so he spent three years studying, learning from and listening to Maple Ridge council meetings before deciding to run for one of the positions himself.

“I contemplated running in the last election and decided, ‘You know what, I didn’t know enough about how all this stuff operates to be able to go and be a councillor and be effective.’

“A lot of people say they want change. Well, it’s tough to change things if you don’t know how it works, to start with. So I made sure I know how.”

Mitchell has recently retired, a fact which allowed him to get to the early Monday meetings.

He’s been to three quarters of the council morning workshops and half of the committee of the whole meetings in the past three years.

Mitchell has also chaired the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows parks and leisure services commission the past two years.

“It’s a whole cross-section of things I’ve been involved here in the last three years that certainly helps.”

Mitchell has lived in Maple Ridge for 40 years, and agrees, long-time residents may not be able to see the city from new perspectives to ensure it changes and progresses.

But he said you also have to know the history as well, noting how much transportation has improved.

He said it’s time Maple Ridge considered municipality-wide garbage collection.

“I’m open to it. I think people need to understand it’s not going to happen for free.

“One of the main arguments is all of the trucks we have running up and down.”

Metro Vancouver is requiring that all green waste has to be out of the municipal waste system by next January.

“If were going to be called a city, let’s step up and become a city.”

Most on council, though, want to keep the present system, in which several separate garbage haulers pick up household waste. Switching to a single, municipal-wide system could cost taxpayers another $300 a year.

Growing Maple Ridge’s economy and bringing jobs is Mitchell’s top priority. He wants industrial land preserved and supports Maple Ridge’s recently passed commercial industrial strategy and the incentives to bring in businesses that received initial approval on Monday.

“We need to aggressively attract business to Maple Ridge to get our tax base more in line with at least where the rest of the province is.”