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Maple Ridge mayor elect promises to work with everyone on council

Former mayor, Mike Morden, looking forward to spending more time with family
Independent mayoral candidate Corisa Bell, watches election results come in Saturday night, Oct. 15. (Neil Corbett/The News)

One of the first orders of business for the mayor elect of Maple Ridge, after he is sworn into office next month, is bringing back land acknowledgments for First Nations peoples at council meetings.

Dan Ruimy believes land acknowledgments are critical in order to have conversations with the Katzie First Nations, Kwantlen First Nations, the Metis, and Fraser River Indigenous Society.

“We want to be able to sit down and have those conversations and see how we can work together to acknowledge truth and reconciliation, to acknowledge their standing in the community,” and to ask them what their needs are, he said.

Ruimy will take office after a swearing-in ceremony on Nov. 1, along with the rest of his A Better Maple Ridge slate that includes Korleen Carreras, Sunny Schiller, Onyeka Dozie, and Jenny Tan – who were all voted to council on election day, Saturday, Oct. 15 – in addition to independent candidate Ahmed Yousef, who received 6,028 votes, the most votes for a city councillor, and Judy Dueck, the sole Maple Ridge First slate member under incumbent mayor Mike Morden, to win a council seat.

Incumbent mayoral candidate Mike Morden, centre, with members of his Maple Ridge First slate, watches the election results come in Saturday night, Oct. 15. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Incumbent mayoral candidate Mike Morden, centre, with members of his Maple Ridge First slate, watches the election results come in Saturday night, Oct. 15. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Ruimy, who received 6,306 votes or 44 per cent of the vote to become the city’s new mayor, is positive he can work with everyone, and has already sat down with Yousef and Dueck.

“I think what’s important here is while we got elected as a team, we’re going to govern as a council,” he said.

Ruimy granted that the first four months of office will be spent in training for all council members – learning the system, and learning what they need to know in order to do their jobs properly. Then, he said they will have to take stock of what is currently happening at city hall, what projects are on the go.

“What’s in front of us right away that becomes our priority,” he said.

“We may have our own priorities, but there are certain things that are already in front of us that we are going to have to decide, OK, what is coming up first based on previous agendas,” he elaborated.

As soon as possible, he said, they do want to get together and have a roundtable with developers, other levels of government, non-profits, anybody in the housing industry to figure out ways to move forward with their goals. But first they have to understand the lay of the land, and every council member has to understand their role, and how to execute the job they have been elected for.

Morden, who received 4,321 or 30 per cent of the vote, and two other Maple Ridge slate members – Chelsa Meadus and Ryan Svendsen – were voted out of city hall on Saturday.

“I am extremely proud of the achievements of our council term,” said Morden.

“Just because we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, doesn’t mean that there isn’t thousands upon thousands of local residents in this community who depend on us to advocate for the policies they and their families depend on,” he said.

READ ALSO: Ruimy declared mayor in Maple Ridge, winning over Morden

Morden believes his team did what they could to draw attention to what they sincerely believed to be the most vital questions of policy and leadership going into the election, and, he added, they stand by their message and the issues they championed.

“We addressed the issues of every day, working and taxpaying residents, as well as those things that affected the most vulnerable in our community – seniors needing homes that they can actually afford, attending to those struggling with mental health and addiction, and understanding the difference.”

Morden said for now he is going to spend time with family, but when things settle down, he will be communicating with Maple Ridge First membership.

“Listening to others, engaging supporters both past and present, and helping ensure them that there will be an MRF that is ready and prepared to serve them in the event of another election,” he said.

“I wish the new governors well,” he added, saying he is available to mayor-elect Ruimy, his council, and the community for any help.

“Service above self has been my guide in life. I remain committed to my city and its residents.”

RELATED: Pitt Meadows residents vote to keep current councillors

Independent candidate Corisa Bell, who came third in the run for mayor with 2,799 votes or 19 per cent of the vote, was not surprised by the results.

“The feedback was consistent in not wanting Maple Ridge First and its strong hold on decisions to continue to benefit only themselves and few others,” said Bell.

Bell feels that people have lost hope in the government process, an indicator, she said, of bigger problems within a society.

“We need to engage the public during election time much differently than what we do now,” noted Bell.

Bell said she is dedicated to being a part of the community going forward and will always be a very active, “villager and volunteer”.

“If I’m called to duty by the public again I would consider it. I only run when the public asks me to. I’m an advocate and a person in politics, not a politician,” she said.

Darleen Bernard came fourth in the race for mayor garnering 600 votes – four per cent of the vote –and Jacques Blackstone received 346 votes, two per cent of the vote.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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