Mike Morden is running for a second term as mayor, as part of the Maple Ridge First team, along with fellow incumbent councillors Judy Dueck, Chelsa Meadus, and Ryan Svendsen.
Morden said he is proud of his council’s work during the past four years, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. He frames the Oct. 15 election as a vote on “whether we fall back in time to the problems of old, or continue down the path of progress, growth, and renewal.”
Morden is one of five mayoralty candidates, and his position is being contested by former city councillor Corisa Bell, former MP Dan Ruimy, as well as Darleen Bernard and Jacques Blackstone who would be new to local politics.
“Serving as your mayor since 2018 has been the greatest honour of my career in service of others. We’ve made significant progress this term, particularly in safety, housing, and jobs,” said Morden.
The past council’s major safety accomplishments include building a responsive public safety model, shutting down a “dangerous” tent city, and starting the Community Social Safety Initiative (CSSI), he said. The CSSI is a program that gets crucial housing and health resources to those in need, while giving residents back their neighbourhoods, asserts Morden and other cities are now replicating the program.
“We’re proud of our track record on housing, especially for young residents and families,” said Morden. “This council has overseen an unprecedented level of construction and development while adhering to responsible land use practices.
“We have put a lot of work into fostering investor confidence, and the effort has paid off, as reflected in the new Haney Place Mall development,” he added. “Along with shopping on the ground, residences in high-rise towers above, there will be additional amenities that the owners will announce when they present the grand 2.5-million-square-foot plan to the public. The owners and staff are working together on details, this central cornerstone to our downtown is real, I’ve seen the plans, I’m really excited for our city.”
He said the last council also created and endorsed what he calls the first serious commercial and industrial development plan, designed to bring new investment and business activity, create jobs, and provide new tax revenues to reduce the tax burden on homeowners.
“Stick with Maple Ridge First, and this plan will double the commercial/industrial tax base as plans come to fruition,” said Morden. “The various works underway will see 2,400 acres of mixed-use and industrial land development, providing the significant tax base shift that Maple Ridge First members have sought to achieve.”
“When I first took the Mayor’s chair, our city was in trouble. Property and nuisance crime was a serious problem, our pool hadn’t been repaired (and when it finally was, the bill was more than double), some council members were absent for lengthy periods, and they couldn’t even agree on a strategic plan to set a direction for the administration,” he said.
”Our future generations were leaving Maple Ridge. Not anymore. Now we’re organized and growing. We have stability and direction, and we’re on our way to becoming one of the best cities in Metro Vancouver to live, work, and raise a family.”
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