Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read has been away from council the last three weeks after being the target of harassment and threats, according to the city.
“She’s away, because we’ve had a range of … been the target of online harassments [and], but it escalated. There was credible information leading to a personal threat to the mayor. So as a result of that and the RCMP investigation, we’ve had to take some safety precautions related to her attendance at meetings and things,” said chief administrator Ted Swabey.
“We’re hopeful she can resume duties as soon as possible. That’s going to be up to her, obviously,” Swabey added.
Swabey issued a statement Friday, saying it’s been a “difficult time for the mayor and her family and she will not be commenting until she feels ready to do so.
“Our focus is in ensuring that all of our elected officials and staff feel that they can carry out their work free of harassment and with a sense of personal safety. This is the cornerstone of our democratic system,” Swabey added.
He said the threat occurred in the past three weeks.
During the period concerned, Read missed the April 11 meeting, as well as the April 24 workshop and committee meeting, and the April 25 council meeting.
Read also missed the March 27 morning workshop meeting, as well as the March 28 regular council meeting because of illness.
With the mayor away, council has been functioning with only five councillors, as Coun. Corisa Bell has been away on medical leave since October.
The lack of a quorum, or fewer than four members led to the cancellation of a public hearing on April 18.
Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau of RCMP E Division said police are investigating, but no charges have been laid yet.
“We continue to work with the mayor to ensure we support that important balance between public accessibility and availability and personal and employee safety and security,” Linteau said.