Former chamber executive-director running for council

Dean Barbour says business experience will help as elected politician

Having seen the ins and outs of business first-hand, Dean Barbour now wants to bring that to council and grow Maple Ridge’s economy.

Barbour, former executive-director for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce, announced last week we wants earn one of the six spots available when the Nov. 15 civic election takes place.

Barbour says with his background in business consulting, retail and running the chamber from 2007 to 2010, he can contribute on that topic.

“In representing the people, I know what I can be good at.”

Barbour referred to another candidate, Karl Lundgren, who wants to do a study of shopping habits of Maple Ridge residents to see where people are spending their money. Barbour’s done two such surveys when he was with the chamber. He added many companies don’t want to locate in Maple Ridge because it’s too close to other shopping centres in Langley and Coquitlam.

“The magic [population] number is 100,000,” when retailers decide on whether to locate in a community.

“Until our population grows, we’re going to have that challenge.”

Barbour said he’ll be putting up his website soon where he’ll address the charges he faced after serving as executive-director of the chamber of commerce.

Fraud and forgery charges were dropped April 24, 2013 in Port Coquitlam provincial court.

The whole thing has been very unfortunate, he added. “I don’t know if it will hurt me or not, but I think it’s a valid question.” But it never should have reached the stage where charges were laid, he added.

The Maple Ridge organization was named chamber of the year in 2009. Barbour also worked with BIA and pushed the district to address public safety and crime in the downtown, as well as parking and the number of vacant lots.

While Barbour’s trying to get on council, Bob Masse is trying to get elected for a second term. Masse is the second incumbent after Corisa Bell to announce a campaign for re-election.

Masse said mental health, drug addiction, poverty and homelessness continue to be critical issues that affect everyone.

During last term, Masse pushed to have the provincial government re-instate Riverview Hospital as centre of excellence for mental health.

Another priority is an “absolute priority.”

“We also need to change how we do things to attract more of the kinds of businesses that we should have here.”

Masse’s main focus during his term has been promoting Maple Ridge as a location for a multi-institutional post-secondary school. The provincial government has funded a $110,900 research project, to determine what specific labour market training is needed in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Mission.

Masse is on the task force, which includes Pitt Meadows, Mission which wants to see a post-secondary institute in here.

Kwantlen Polytechnic, SFU, Douglas College, BCIT, the B.C. Manufacturer’s Association and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district are also part of the group.

The District of Maple Ridge and Invest North Fraser have awarded a contract to R.A. Malatest and Associates to research and assess the North Fraser region’s current labour market situation, and the anticipated labour market needs for the next five years.

Masse said Maple Ridge will keep growing, “with all the benefits and all the challenges that go with it.

“How we manage our growth will determine the success and quality of life four our community, and our residents, now and for the future.”