Veteran Maple Ridge city councillor Dr. Robert Masse has announced his intention to regain a seat on council.
Masse, a chiropractor, has lived and practised in the city since 1981, and served two terms on council from 2011 to 2018.
Masse said he chose not to run during the last term. But now he is practising just two days per week, has energy to put into local government, and is throwing his hat in the ring.
“I enjoy the job,” he said simply. “And I think I’m good at it.”
One of the causes he first mentions is creating local post-secondary opportunities, which was an initiative Masse worked on as a city councillor during his earlier terms. He said not having post secondary schooling in Maple Ridge means a lower level of education compared with other cities, and there is a brain drain as young people leave the city for schooling, make connections in other communities, don’t return to Maple Ridge.
“Hopefully I could be helpful on that issue,” he said.
Masse also mentions mental health advocacy, particularly for young people, which has been a longtime area of personal interest. He created a social enterprise that has donated more than $35,000 for local youth mental health care.
Masse sees environmental policies as another city priority, and planning development.
“How communities grow, and the benefits of growth, have changed in the last 15 years,” he said.
Masse is running as an independent councillor, and said he is “not a big fan of slates.” He sees slates, or de-facto slates, forming in this election. While there are good people involved, he said party politics does not work well in municipal government. In particular, he said a group of councillors should not be meeting and making decisions for the city away from regular council meetings.
In addition to his work at city hall, Masse has served on boards with Alouette Addictions Services, the Downtown Business Improvement Association, and the College of Chiropractors, where he also chaired the Ethics and Discipline committee. He also was a member of the Community Health Council steering committee, and was a director of the Vistas Run for five years.
Masse has a website at robertmasse.ca, which includes testimonials from local people, including politicians, a former city hall senior staffer, educators, health care workers and others.
An example is former RCMP Superintendent Dave Walsh: “During his previous role on council, Bob was passionate about all aspects of community safety including homelessness, mental health, addiction and was heavily engaged in trying to find solutions. In addition to being trustworthy and competent, Bob always showed compassion and respect for those in crisis while still holding them accountable.”
The municipal election will be held on Oct. 15.
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