Name: Mike Morden
Occupation: owner of a local security company.
Website, Twitter handle, Facebook page: www.mikemorden.com;
Q1. What have you personally achieved, or what initiative have you personally led in recent years that qualifies you to be elected or re-elected as a Maple Ridge councillor?
1. My most significant request that came to fruition (it took two years) was to have an incentive program. I knew it was a good idea to feed the developers’ appetite and get our downtown revitalization going at a faster pace. Conceptually, it is no different than the old Woodwards $1.49 day – you want to sell something, let’s show some initiative and put the toilet paper on sale. Gets the developers in the door, especially in these tougher times. Simple concept, and we now have a $500,000 annual budget for developers building in our town core with ‘to the front of the line’ permit approvals, inspections, DCC rebates and other tax incentives, depending on the nature of the building. It is an excellent program, with $22 million already written under it in 10.5 months.
Q2. Provide two examples of council’s actions over the past three years and explain why or why not you support them.
2. First is the new development process bylaw, that I first heard about from Coun. Al Hogarth. The new process is similar to the old one, except there is the option to go to first reading with a concept plan only. Typically this would be for land-use decisions. Now, for a lot less work and money spent, the customer can put forward a basic concept plan for what they want to do, and it comes to council much faster. If the land use decision makes sense, it just goes back into the system and proceeds to second reading as normal. If, however, council says no to the land use change, a lot of time and money is saved by only going to first reading.
Second, the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy. This plan contains many great things. However, I did vote against it because control of our lands is further taken away by senior governments. In addition to that, we now have another step in our development process bylaw, requiring developers seeking land-use changes to add Metro Vancouver to the long list of approvals we must get.
Q3. Do you support the 13-per-cent increase (over three years) in councillor’s salaries approved last summer? Why or why not? Explain what you would do if elected.
3. I didn’t vote in favour of it when it came to us. The reason why is because of the policy that drives it. This policy says that staff will do an analysis of all comparable communities and then take the average and then its recommends a pay increase on 65 per cent of the that mean number. The net result of this is ongoing growing salaries with no caps in place. If you extrapolate this further, and look at all salaries paid to all government, with effectively no caps, there is no end in sight for the taxpayer.