Leah Pillet is running for councillor in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

Leah Pillet is running for councillor in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)

MEET THE CANDIDATES

IN THE MAPLE RIDGE COUNCILLOR’S RACE: Leah Pillet

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

Leah Pillet

RUNNING AS AN INDEPENDENT

Stay-at-home mom, age 45

Hammond resident who’s lived in Maple Ridge 19 years

The words people have used to describe Leah are: strong, honest, forthright, capable, organized, hardworking and sincere.

A resident of Maple Ridge for 19 years, Leah volunteers at her church, helps new families settle into the country, and works to protect every citizen’s rights by helping the Canadian Freedom Coalition.

For over a decade, Leah ran Ridge Meadows Home Learners, while homeschooling her own children.

As city councillor, Leah will work with integrity and believes local government should have an environment of open, respectful communication. She believes in listening to people’s input on issues and factoring that into her decision making.

It’s time to thrive in Maple Ridge. #ElectPillet.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leah.pillet

Twitter: @leahpillet

Website: www.Pillet.ca

Email: lpillet@proton.me

Phone: 778-883-2141

.

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

.

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?

Numerous stakeholders successfully removed the large tent city that was established prior to this last term. Work is not done though and we need more advocacy with Provincial and Federal levels of government to get treatment centres. Facilities like Riverview are being re-established and made accessible to those wanting treatment the moment they are ready but capacity is too low for demand. While low barrier and clean injection sites are a piece of the puzzle, they are not the end goal. People on the streets matter. They are someone’s child and had a future. We should be doing all we can to help people, give them a purpose and work to prevent the causes for these cycles of misery.

We also need to take better care of our citizens that are on the cusp of being homeless. To illustrate just one example, I recently had a senior friend in need of housing and was shocked to see the low availability, the inaccurately reported level of subsidy he was supposed to get and the lack of tools available to help seniors navigate a digital world. These challenges are preventable and I will work with agencies to address these issues.

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

Residents do not feel safe. Just the other day I parked next to a street worker and walked past someone strung out on drugs while running errands in the downtown core. I have friends whose properties are constantly vandalized, have experienced theft and have spent thousands of dollars to make their home secure. The people on the streets are suffering and so are the law abiding, tax paying residents. This is a large issue that involves advocacy with upper levels of government to receive the funding needed to address the issues plaguing our city. I also have friends that are former police officers who have stepped down due to frustrations in a system that never penalizes perpetrators of crime and releases them back onto streets to repeat offend. The judicial system is failing the criminals, and the rest of society, by allowing these cycles to continue. Everyone needs to speak up and demand that more be done to end these ineffective policies.

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

With current interest rates, I don’t feel it is wise to borrow. I would first like to have an intimate look at how we spend money as a city. Items are coded and you don’t know exactly where some of the money is being spent. We can find areas to tighten the budget and perhaps release funds into more important initiatives that serve a larger part of the community. One example is the ‘street improvement’ of 117th Avenue. Translink only funded $1.2 million, while the city footed the bill for $2.3 million. Did the street need a sidewalk and street lights? Yes. Did they need a 3m wide multi-use pathway that devalued people’s properties? No.

I do want to see a new aquatic centre that properly serves the Swimming Club with a competitive pool and more features for our children to enjoy. I understand that we just spent millions on a pool, but with a growing population and an inability to provide enough swim lessons to the current residents, we are in need of another pool. I will work hard to find ways to make that happen by applying for grants, working with developers and working within our budget.

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

Our natural areas are what make Maple Ridge special and should be respected and protected. When numerous public hearings are held and the majority of residents of the community, including the Katzie Nation and local environmental groups, are in opposition to development in sensitive areas, we need to listen. If you want to fully understand the situation along the Alouette River, I highly recommend you watch Jack Emberly’s video “Silent Risk”. It explains very well the flood issue on the River and why development should not be allowed. Further to this, I really want to see dialogue opened up about restoring the salmon runs on the Alouette River and building a fish ladder on the nearly 100 year old dam that is not earthquake safe.

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

The City needs to do a better job of both attracting business to Maple Ridge AND making it easy for business to set up shop. Streamlined approaches to applications, reducing red tape and celebrating innovative business ideas will all help to remove barriers in the way of building a thriving local economy. We also need to explore expanding tourism in our community. We are a beautiful city surrounded by rivers, mountains and lakes. More needs to be done to attract people to the area with river boats, unique shopping and dining experiences, and providing amenities like hotels and facilities to host tournaments for our local sporting clubs. Parking also needs to be addressed in the downtown core that has restrictions on parking times which prevent people from staying in Maple Ridge for a sufficient length of time to run errands and shop locally.

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

With current interest rates, I don’t feel it is wise to borrow. I would first like to have an intimate look at how we spend money as a city. Items are coded and you don’t know exactly where some of the money is being spent. I am sure we can find ways to tighten the budget and perhaps release funds into other more important initiatives that serve a larger part of the community. One example is the ‘street improvement’ of 117th Avenue. Translink only funded $1.2 million, while the city footed the bill for $2.3 million. Did the street need a sidewalk and street lights? Yes. Did they need a 3m wide multi-use pathway that devalued people’s properties? No.

I do want to see a new or upgraded arena facility and will work hard to find ways to make that happen by applying for grants, working with developers, working within our budget. We are in desperate need of more ice time and I encourage all clubs that are in need to become vocal and advocate for this. We could bring in a BC Junior A hockey team with the right facility and host tournaments bringing vital dollars to the community.

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

Please see question 1 as homelessness and opioid use are linked and will need to be addressed at the same time and in the same ways.

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

I am not interested in virtue signaling.

Paper straws wrapped in plastic, carbon taxes that line someone’s pockets and swapping carbon credits by planting trees in Canada so you can clear-cut the Amazon are of no use to me.

I care deeply about the environment and was the minister of environment on my student council in college.

I participate in many initiatives, like shoreline cleanups, and have created educational programs for children to foster a love of nature.

Creating hysteria over climate change does nothing but create anxiety in our already vulnerable youth about the prospects of their future.

We have come leaps and bounds in our environment stewardship and will continue to do so by implementing methods to act locally by doing what is effective.

I do not believe electric vehicles are the answer. They pollute as much as gas. Please do your research.

One concrete answer to reducing emissions locally would be to ensure our buses fulfill route obligations, show up on time and actually stop to pick up passengers. Not doing so only encourages the continued use of cars.

Maple Ridge needs better service and more routes if you want to get people out of cars.

9. Are tax levels too high in the City?

Tax levels are too high and I would like to see a tax freeze for residents. The city is already getting more money by taxing homes that increase in value year after year. As addressed in questions 3 and 6, I would like to have an intimate look at the budget to see where we are spending our money and whether or not it is necessary. It is prudent to always be looking at your budget to see where improvements can be made and I look forward to seeing how we can manage our finances in a way that benefits us all.

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

It is totally feasible to have development decisions made within 12 months. I know the current council has implemented a review of how the city planning department operates. I look forward to continuing that initiative and seeing how we can bring in more business by creating a welcoming environment that has a streamlined method for applying and providing feedback to developers.

.

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

.

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.

.


Have a story tip? Email: editor@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Election 2022maple ridge

Be Among The First To Know

Create a free account today, and start receiving free newsletters.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up