Chris O’Brian is running for councillor in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

Chris O’Brian is running for councillor in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

MEET THE CANDIDATES

IN THE MAPLE RIDGE COUNCILLOR’S RACE: Chris O’Brian

Ahead of Oct. 15, The News offers a profile and Q&A opportunity to each candidate

Chris O’Brian

RUNNING AS AN INDEPENDENT

Mental health/addictions, age 52

Thornhill resident who’s lived in Maple Ridge 16 years

I’m running because I am concerned with what is happening in our city, and I have the knowledge and background to move forward with positive change.

I’ll address the homeless issue by implementing significant changes.

I have a petition on my website to build a modern, state-of-the-art treatment centre.

I’ll also address crime in the downtown area.

As a member of the TAC, I’ll advocate for better bus services.

I’ll advocate for a new, indoor public swimming pool and new elementary schools to be built.

I will ensure infrastructure and roads are built adequately.

I’ll advocate for affordable housing for seniors.

I’ll work to bring in more commercial retail businesses, and ensure developers pay adequate CAC and DCC fees for amenities.

Twitter: @ChrisO’Brian

Website: www.chrisobrian.ca

Phone: 604-351-9846

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Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No.

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CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR FULL ELECTION GUIDE ONLINE

Questions:

(These answers are presented as the candidates submitted them)

1. Does the City have a handle on the problems created by homelessness?

Yes. The city did what it had to do with getting the injunction to take down the tent city known as Anita’s Place encampment.

I lived across from it at the time, and I witnessed dangerous fires going up there in the middle of the night.

However, more needs to be done.

With my background working in mental health and addictions, I feel I am very qualified to address this.

With my petition to have a modern treatment centre built, my desire to have Riverview Hospital re-opened, and increased housing to be built for low-income earners to afford a place to live, I will bring the homeless numbers down significantly within my term in office.

2. Do you believe residents of the City feel safe?

2. No. I have talked to many residents who state that they do not feel safe. That is why I have applied to the joint City/RCMP ISAT volunteer program, to patrol the downtown area with others and talk to businesses and citizen’s to find out their concerns. I am asking for this program to be expanded. I would also like to see more RCMP bike and foot patrols in the area. And I will be recommending new city bylaws to address this. I will also be looking at any changes to the CSSI and LEAD model that can be used to improve citizens safety and security. And I will be looking at RCMP response times, charges laid, and convictions to ensure the RCMP continue to work closely with the city to bring crime rates down.

3. Do you support the City borrowing funds to build a new aquatic centre?

Yes. A new aquatic center being built is overdue. However, I would like to have the majority of these funds, if not all of them, paid for through increased DCC and CAC developer fees.

4. Are you in favour of development along the Alouette River?

No. As a former member of the Board of Directors’ with KEEPS, I am very concerned about development along the Alouette River. Kanaka Creek has similar concerns, and my primary concern is protecting the river conditions, fish habitats and surrounding wildlife. There is plenty of land to develop on without needing to develop along the Alouette River.

5. Can City hall do more to attract new businesses to open in Maple Ridge?

Yes. As a member of the Transportation Advisory Committee, I am aware of the need to attract more commercial businesses to our city. I will

enter discussions with businesses to invite them here with some reasonable incentives. For instance, our corporate tax rates should not be any higher than our neighboring communities. Through dialogue, I am confident I can bring in new businesses.

6. Should the City borrow funds to build a new arena facility?

Yes. However, as with building a new swimming pool facility, most, if not all of the funds, should be attained through increased CAC and DCC fees.

7. Should Maple Ridge take more direct action to combat the local opioid crisis?

Yes. I have mentioned my desire to build a modern, state-of-the-art treatment center. The city also needs to have more community resources in place to assist those who are in recovery and needing community supports.

The path to combating the opioid crisis is through ending people’s addictions.

8. Is the City taking adequate measures to lower carbon emissions?

No. The city can do more to lower carbon emissions. That is why I am proposing green wave technology be implemented for the traffic lights along Lougheed Highway between east and west Maple Ridge. This is explained on my website and is used successfully in many cities in North America. I am also proposing that more EV charging stations be built to incentivize ownership of electric vehicles.

9. Are tax levels too high in the City?

Yes. Through building more housing and bringing in more commercial businesses over my term in office this will broaden the tax base and bring property taxes down. Part of achieving this will be to cut bureaucratic red tape to getting building developments started, that are done responsibly and without any negative environmental impacts.

10. Should the City commit to making a decision on proposed new developments within 12 months or less?

Yes. These decisions can be made with due care and consideration within the next 12 months. The more quickly new developments are started, the faster people will start to see a reduction in their property taxes.

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CLICK ON OUR ELECTIONS 2022 TAB TO FIND A WIDE VARIETY OF RELEVANT STORIES

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

How the questions were presented to each candidate

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows news readers have told us how much they value this important, straight-forward reference guide that helps orient them with the range of choices on the ballots – both at the council and school board levels.

Towards that end, we have attempted to make this package available (along with the following instructions) to each of the candidates in a timely fashion ahead of the Oct. 15 election.

Please read carefully before you start to fill this out.

To help voters in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows make their choices on election day, The News is asking local candidates 10 issue-based questions.

You must provide a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y, N, D) response to EACH of these questions.

Each question MUST be answered with yes (Y), no (N), or Don’t Know (D). This will be published in a grid in the Oct. 6 edition. Any questions not answered will be LEFT BLANK.

Candidates may also expand on ANY OR ALL of these questions (to a maximum of 200 words each). Please note any responses longer than that will be cut off at the 201-word mark.

Due to space limitations, we can only guarantee to run one of these answers in The News print edition ahead of the election. You must CLEARLY indicate which expanded answer you want to see published in print. If you do not specify, we will choose. Any and all expanded answers provided will be published online at www.mapleridgenews.com.

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