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All 28 to be at a Democracy Fair, Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Arts Centre Theatre in Maple Ridge

If you find it difficult to decide who to vote for among the 28 people running for council, you might have a better idea after the Democracy Fair, Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Arts Centre Theatre in Maple Ridge.

The free event involves candidates setting up tables in the lobby, where they can meet voters, display campaign literature and items for a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction will go to the candidates to help with campaign costs, and the $50 registration fee that each will have to pay.

One of the candidates for council, Wendy Cook, came up with the idea, while her group, the Peace Twig Fundraising Association, is paying for the building rental. But to keep things impartial, Marie Brothers has taken over the organizing of the event.

Brothers just announced the event, which starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 6:30 p.m. and is not sure of the response from the politicians.

In addition to the two contenders for mayor, 11 people are seeking five spots on Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board.

Round table discussions will also be set up in a room, the Genstar Studio Theatre, adjoining the lobby. Starting at 2 p.m., based on alphabetical order, seven candidates will go into the  adjoining room, each at their own table, and spend half an hour trying to persuade voters.

That will be done four times to accommodate all 28 candidates.

“They have this whole time to do whatever they want essentially, with the star being on them for half an hour.”

So far, three candidates have said they’ll be there, Wendy Cook, Peter Tam and Claus Andrup, while a council candidate and a school trustee candidate have said they won’t.

And candidates don’t have to spend their entire time there. They could just show up when it’s their time to be at the round table discussions. For example, mayoralty candidates don’t have the round-table session until 5 p.m. when challenger Craig Ruthven has a half hour followed by Ernie Daykin.

The format is an alternative to the usual all candidates’ forums, where would-be politicians only speak for two minutes, she pointed out.

Community groups can also set up tables in the lobby.

Deadline for candidate registration is Oct. 23. For information on the Democracy Fair, e-mail Marie at: mariebrothers@yahoo.ca.

Learn More

Newcomers to Maple Ridge municipal politics are also invited to the Thornhill Community Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. That’s a meeting for candidates who’ve never held office.

All candidates meetings for Maple Ridge council take place:

• Oct. 27, 6:30 p.m., Fraserview Community Hall, 116th Avenue and 227th Street

• Nov. 9, 6 p.m., Webster’s Corners elementary, Dewdney Trunk Road and 256th Street

• Nov. 10, 7 p.m. Whonnock Lake Centre, 27871 113th Avenue

• The Whonnock Community Association is also hosting an all-candidates meeting for school trustees at the Whonnock Lake Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.