People protested against BC Housing’s plans to build modular homes on Royal Crescent. (THE NEWS/files)

Maple Ridge fall election sheet filling out

Four spots open on seven-person council

Coun. Corisa Bell’s decision not to run for re-election Oct. 20 opens a third vacancy on the seven-person council, but it’s still a guessing game about whether it will be someone new or a returning veteran of council who will occupy the empty chair.

Former mayor and councillor Al Hogarth said last week, he’s considering running.

“I haven’t made up my mind. Just got to figure things out, that’s all.”

Hogarth served one term as mayor, from 2000 to 2002, and three subsequent terms as councillor.

But another former councillor, Judy Dueck definitely wants back on council.

“I’m running, it’s no secret,” Dueck said in April.

Bell, along with Couns. Tyler Shymkiw and Bob Masse have all said they’re not coming back for another civic election.

A newcomer to the race will be Mike Hayner, who opposed B.C. Housing building 55 modular homes on Royal Crescent without public consultation. People have asked him to stand for council.

“For myself … this is the first time, in decades, I have lived in a town that I can honestly say I love. It would be nothing short of a genuine pleasure to serve the people of Maple Ridge,” Hayner said.

Elizabeth Taylor, who’s previously tried for a council seat, is also in the race.

“I just don’t want the old boy’s club back. We need something different than the same old people all the time.”

Chelsa Meadus, who finished two spots out of a council seat in the 2014 election, is also running again.

If elected, she hopes to bring a new way of public consultation to council. She’s concerned about what seems to be more closed door meetings by the current council.

Mayor Nicole Read has said again, she’s not in the Oct. 20 contest.

“No, I’m not running.”

That includes running for mayor, a council seat or school board. She added, though, that for the next council: “I think it’s really important to see the recreation facilities roll forward.”

Maple Ridge has embarked on a $50-million recreation upgrade after taxpayers approved borrowing to pay for two new synthetic sports fields, a new Albion Community Centre, a new ice sheet at Planet Ice, part of the renos to the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre pools, as well as smaller improvements.

“We need a strong mayoralty candidate who’s going to be able to protect us from mobility pricing and fight hard for us at the regional and provincial tables,” Read said.

No decisions have been made regarding any form of mobility price or road pricing, following release of a TransLink study earlier this year.

She said a new indoor aquatic centre should be the city’s next major recreation project.

A public consultation process for a new pool is underway.

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