How does the City of Maple Ridge sound?
Depending on a staff report next spring, council could decide to apply to the provincial government and change its status from district municipality to city.
Coun. Al Hogarth raised the issue earlier and the economic development will review the pros and cons of changing the label in the new year.
“The City of Maple Ridge – I kind of like the sounds of that,” Hogarth said Tuesday.
“We’re not just a sleepy little town.”
Hogarth pointed out that Maple Ridge, with a population of about 78,000, is one of the largest 100 municipalities in Canada. He acknowledged there could be pros and cons, and that both sides had to be considered before making the change.
Becoming known as a city will make it easier to attract investment, tourism and improve interaction with senior governments. The same goes when trying to attract overseas investments, he added.
And out of the eight regional growth centres identified by Metro Vancouver, Maple Ridge is the only one known as a district. “District municipality – what does that mean?” Hogarth asked.
The topic has been discussed for a while, added Mayor Ernie Daykin.
“I can see, everybody calls it the city anyways. Are people more used to the term [city]? Yup,” he said.
“Is it easier to market the city of Maple Ridge? I think it’s worthy of discussion.”
Daykin said he favours making the change, providing it doesn’t cost a lot.
“When you consider that half the communities in B.C. are under 10,000 people, there’s a good point to becoming a city.”
But it’s one of those changes that won’t affect Maple Ridge’s rural character, he added.
Jake Rudolph was chief administrator when Pitt Meadows became a city in 2007 and said the cost to change was minimal.
Pitt Meadows just waited for its stationery supplies to run out before ordering new ones with city label on them.
“It doesn’t change any legislation that I’m aware of.”
Changing to city status was part of Pitt Meadows efforts at creating a consistent brand.
Making the change also reduced confusion some people had with the school district, he added.
The transformation to a city of about 18,000 people took place with almost zero push back from residents, said Rudolph, who lives in Maple Ridge but is now deputy CAO with Abbotsford.
“It was just totally embraced.”
If Maple Ridge did the same, it would help its image.
“I think it’s something that will project Maple Ridge in a different light. I think it puts it on the map,” Rudolph said.
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce president Terry Becker also liked the idea and assumed most of the members would, as well.
Pitt Meadows still has that small-town feel despite gaining city status, she added.