As voters in the ridings of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge-Mission head to the polls on Saturday, they can only feel that their votes will count more than ever.
Voters in the two Ridge ridings have been blushing through a determined courtship from both the BC Liberals and BC NDP. Both parties have tied to to woo voters with promises.
Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has visited the ridings three times since the snap election call, supporting the local campaigns of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidate Cheryl Ashlie and Maple Ridge-Mission candidate Chelsa Meadus.
NDP Leader John Horgan and his government’s health minister Adrian Dix have both come to Maple Ridge to reinforce the campaigns by incumbents Lisa Bear in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows and Bob D’Eith in Maple Ridge-Mission.
They are viewed as key battleground ridings, where the election could be lost or won. The NDP took both ridings from the Liberals in 2017, and were able to form government with the Green Party.
“The NDP flipped almost every close riding in the Lower Mainland in the last election, and the Maple Ridge ridings were a huge part of that,” Hamish Telford of the University of the Fraser Valley told The News.
Wilkinson promised more mental health beds at Ridge Meadows Hospital, and to build new transportation infrastructure in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Beare responded that an NDP government would also work with cities on the long-discussed infrastructure.
Horgan was in Maple Ridge to announce an expansion of $10 per day child care, and Wilkinson was in the city to say the Liberals would end the ICBC monopoly on vehicle insurance.
The NDP has also promised it would build a new Pitt Meadows secondary, and land for a new elementary school in Silver Valley.
The Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau has not visited the ridings. The party is represented by Matt Trenholm who is running in Maple Ridge-Mission.
Which leader, which local candidate and which party has resonated with voters in the ridings will soon be known.
Interest in the election appears high. Advance voting has seen a strong turnout, with 5,894 turning out in Maple Ridge-Mission, and 6,758 in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows through the first five days. There will be more advance voting on Oct. 20 and 21 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In Maple Ridge-Mission advance voting is at:
• Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club at 11445, 232 St.
• District Electoral Office at 110-22441 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
• St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, at 8469 Cedar St.
In Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows advance voting is at:
• Golden Ears United Church at 22165 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
• District Electoral Office at 940-19800 Lougheed Hwy.
Vote by mail was also strong, as Elections BC has already received 42 per cent of the returned vote-by-mail packages it issued. For Maple Ridge-Mission it issued 9,088 packages, and for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows 9,018. Voters have until Oct. 24 to return their packages.
Saturday, Oct. 24 is general voting day, and between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. voters can make their mark. Voters have an assigned voting place, but can vote at another place if it is more convenient. There will be more than 10 voting places in each riding, and a complete list can be found at elections.bc.ca/docs/GVD-voting-places.pdf