One of the candidates for Maple Ridge mayor says it’s time to put the brakes on allowing pay day loan companies opening their doors anywhere within the district.
Tyler Shymkiw is proposing there be a moratorium on the opening of any more operations that offer short-term advances on paycheques, and charge steep interest rates for the privilege of doing so.
“These pay day loan companies tend to congregate in the lower income neighbourhoods. We’ve tried to create affordable housing in Maple Ridge. I think that creates a target for them,” Shymkiw said Thursday.
“It’s something that I saw firsthand when I was chairman of the [Friends in Need] food bank.
“A lot of clients got trapped in that really horrific cycle of debt with it. What happens is they have to re-borrow before they pay that [first loan] back.”
Then they have to borrow from one pay day loan company to pay another, and so on.
Shymkiw sent out the release Thursday, noting that pay day loan companies can charge up to 23 per cent for a two-week loan. That works out to 600 per cent interest over a year.
“This is not what Maple Ridge is about,” he said in the release.
“While the current political leadership has expanded gaming in our downtown core, we don’t need to double down on its negative effects by continuing to allow these sorts of predatory lending services to expand.”
Other municipalities have banned them for years, he added.
Institutes like Vancity credit union are starting to offer short-term loans so people have an alternative.
“We need to take a stand on this if we’re going to start improving our downtown core and reaffirming our commitment to helping all families.”
In the release, Coun. Corisa Bell, seeking a second term on council, backed the idea.
“We need to protect our friends and neighbours from having their lives destroyed by predators because of short-term cash-flow issues,” she said.
Shymkiw, though, said he and Bell are not running as a team for the Nov. 15 civic election, when a new council will be chosen for the next four years.
“I wouldn’t say we’re running as a team. It means we agree on this specific issue.”
Dueck says farewell
Another spot has opened up on Maple Ridge council, bringing to three the number of seats left vacant by departing councillors.
Judy Dueck, who’s served four terms, said last week that she won’t be seeking a fifth.
“It was a tough decision. I do love local politics. It’s all good,” she said.
Dueck will stay on as manager of health and safety with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board.
“It has been a great privilege and honour to represent and serve the residents of Maple Ridge as a councillor and school trustee spanning the last 21 years,” she said in a release.
She hopes future councils will follow the current official community plan that sets out the general growth of the district.
The plan calls for residential expansion to Thornhill, the area east of 248th Street, once Maple Ridge’s population hits 100,000.
But that’s going to be a while yet, and residents will have a say in how that growth takes place. “I see commercial opportunities out there which will help offset the cost for residential.”
Dueck expects the new council to begin implementing the commercial-industrial strategy which sets out where industry will grow and is disappointed that the process took so long under the current council.
“Jobs and shopping are still near and dear to the people of Maple Ridge.
“Jobs, definitely jobs is something they need to focus on.”
Cheryl Ashlie has announced she’s leaving politics and Mike Morden is running for mayor, leaving three vacancies on council to be filled in the Nov. 15 election.