Don Mitchell, for council.
Retired western regional sales manager for a confectionary company.
Political experience/qualifications for running this election:
Have no political experience other than running for office in the last election, but have been elected president of soccer and baseball organizations in Maple Ridge, served on the joint leisure services commission when that agreement was in place, and was elected president of Ridge Meadows Seniors Association last two terms.
Further, prior to last election, I spent the time to learn the councillor’s job. I attended council and workshop meetings, read all of the backup material for those meetings and visited the sites pertaining to the agenda. I sat in at the three-day business planning sessions to understand the process.
Reason for running:
A councillor’s job is not a part-time job. I am retired and have the time to commit to the requirements of the job. I want to be part of the future of Maple Ridge and contribute to the planning and direction that it will take.
• What do you consider to be the top two issues this election and how would you address them?
Economic development: We are too heavily reliant on residential taxation to run the city. We need to increase the business tax base in our community, not by raising the tax on current business, but by attracting new business operations to the city. We already have an advantageous tax multiplier, relatively low land costs, access to transportation and shipping corridors.
We need to create some incentives for business to move or build here – retail, manufacturing, office building, industrial park – and be aggressive in promoting them. Further, we need to hang on to all of our current industrial land holdings or land zoned industrial, and not let it go for residential development. This will also contribute to people working closer to home and relieve pressure on our highways.
Homelessness: There are three parts to the issue. Those that are homeless due to some circumstance, those who are drug addicted and those with mental issues.
If we can find homes for the homeless group, they fit back into mainstream society. Those who are drug addicted need housing, but not low-barrier, and in conjunction with rehabilitation services. The day somebody on drugs wants to quit, there have to be services immediately available for rehabilitation. Those with mental issues need housing, but that must come with supervision to ensure medications are maintained. As to the tent city, the first step is the 55 people being moved into the modular units, the second step is moving the remaining 35 people and dismantling the camp.