Maple Ridge mayoralty candidate Darleen Bernard wants to see the city maintain a community feel that sets it apart from some of the more densely populated parts of the Lower Mainland.
“I’m concerned with the degree to which land is being developed,” she said, and one of the key worries is density.
“We’ve been robbed of our family homes – it’s all multi-family homes. A small plot of land is crammed with as many townhouses or condos as possible.”
Bernard said the result is traffic congestion, and she worries that fire safety is being compromised.
She favours a more thoughtful pace of development.
“And all of our green spaces are being developed,” said Bernard. “This is a small-town community. Are we not allowed to have small-town communities anymore?”
But she does want to see more manufacturing and jobs, to create a more “self-sufficient” community.
“I would like to see a more local work environment –so everyone doesn’t have to commute out of town to work,” she said.
Bernard said homelessness remains an issue in Maple Ridge, and the lack of safety that comes with it.
She said property taxes are too high, and need to be brought under control. With the rate of taxation on businesses, she said, the city is making it difficult for entrepreneurs to start a new business here.
Bernard has retired from a nursing career. She was born and raised for the early part of her life in Maple Ridge, then lived in other parts of the Lower Mainland. As an adult, she moved across Canada with her family, as her husband was in the Canadian navy, and then she returned to the place of her childhood 12 years ago.
She loves wildlife, and volunteers with Critter Care Wildlife Society. She sometimes transfers injured wild animals to the rehabilitation centre in Langley, where they nurse raccoons, squirrels and other animals back to health.
Bernard also takes an active interest in the survival of black bears, and goes door-to-door handing out information designed to reduce human-wildlife conflicts – particularly in Port Coquitlam where there have been many such conflicts.
She will also be a volunteer at the GETI Festival which is coming up this weekend at Memorial Peace Park.
Bernard is one of five candidates running for mayor of Maple Ridge in the Oct. 15 municipal election.
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