Bhupinder Johar, for council.
Veterinarian, Haney Animal Hospital
• Political experience/qualifications for running in this election:
This is my first time as a municipal political candidate, although I have extensive experience within the community.
I am the founding member of the Ridge Meadows South Asian Community. We are a local group of professionals whose primary focus is to raise funds for charity. Each year, we donate funds to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation, organize community cultural events and feed those in need in our local neighbourhoods.
• Reason for running:
Maple Ridge has given me so much, I feel it is my obligation to show my gratitude by doing what I can to contribute to the positive momentum of this city. I welcome the opportunity to be the voice of the people and address their concerns.
• What do you consider to the be top two issues this election and how would you address them?
The top two issues I often come across are the homeless population at Anita Place Tent City, and the allocation of taxes.
Instead of categorizing all transients to the criminal element, I propose we work as a cohesive unit between all levels of government to give equal opportunity for all homeless individuals by providing adequate resources for rehabilitation, education, job readiness, ongoing support, therapy and temporary and permanent housing options. After all, our ultimate goal is reintegration rather than recidivism.
Accountability and the allocation of our tax dollars are synonymous with economic development in our community. We must work together as a community and on all levels of government to develop incentives to bring new entrepreneurial enthusiasm to awaken our town corridor, as well as to promote economic growth and stimulate the densifycation of the downtown core.
Not only do we need to entice new business, it is necessary to keep restaurants and retailers open and involved. Ways to encourage success are to include the business community in cultural events, festivals, tourism venues and farmers markets.
This plan will alleviate the strain on homeowners to provide the tax dollars that accommodate the necessary infrastructure that supports our citizens. My goal is to diversify taxation sources which generate revenues that are beneficial to the growth and development of Maple Ridge.