Name: Graham Mowatt
Q1. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected or re-elected as a Maple Ridge councillor?
1. I have been active in municipal issues for the past several years. I participated in the OCP discussions, the school closure process, the Jackson Farm exclusion, and local transit issues. I formed and co-chaired the Save the Albion Ferry movement, as part of which we collected more than 6,000 signatures to save the ferry service. I have experienced how council claims to listen to concerned citizens, yet ignores them.
Q2. Provide two examples of council’s actions over the past three years and explain why or why not you support them
2. Council has failed to achieve the promises it made during the last election.
Members promised increased commercial development, yet developed a process that has prolonged the approval of the biggest commercial project ever to be offered to us. If council really approved increased commercial space, members would have submitted a well thought out and compelling application years ago. Councillors promised sustainability, yet have approved a policy of guaranteed annual tax increases of at least five per cent, and have continued a policy of urban sprawl that has created massive congestion on our roads. Council also failed to improve our limited transit and have approved gas and property tax increases by TransLink without any increase in infrastructure.
Q3. Do you support the 13-per-cent increase (over three years) in councillor’s salaries approved last summer? Why or why not? Explain what you would do if elected.
3. I do not support any increase in salary for council. The whole premise of being a councillor used to be that a citizen would volunteer to serve their community for a couple of years and, in return, be given a small allowance. Somehow this has changed to where some councillors seem to feel the position should be a career and pay more than the average annual full-time salary of most taxpayers. The salary for council has increased from about $22,000 in 2005 to about $42,000, yet most councillors believe they deserve even more.
At the same time, council has approved/allowed the CAO to be paid more than $230,000 annually, and has allowed him to create a huge bureaucracy below him, all making salaries in excess of $130,000 annually. Council should revisit the raise, freeze their salary at the 2009 level, and seriously review the size and salary of senior non-union staff.