Port Coquitlam’s public works boss wants to help Maple Ridge

Brian Savage has announced his goal of running for a seat on council.



Brian Savage knows the ins and outs of working in the City of Port Coquitlam’s public works department.

Now, he’d like to take that knowledge and see if any of it can apply in the District of Maple Ridge.

Savage, 52, announced his goal of running for a seat on council on the weekend. If successful in winning a four-year term, his next goal would be to run for the top spot.

“You can always make more changes as mayor. My whole shot is to go for mayor.”

Savage has lived in Maple Ridge for the past nine years and has been public works supervisor with Port Coquitlam for the same period.

“I would just like to have a voice for the people. People don’t really speak in Maple Ridge,” he said. “Nobody goes” to council meetings.

He said he wants to find cost savings, but doesn’t want to make definite suggestions until he’s been on council a while.

“Once I get in there, I hope to learn all that stuff.”

When it comes to supposed higher-than-market wages paid to municipal workers, Savage points out those salaries pertain mainly to senior managers rather than Canadian Union of Public Employee workers, who make about $60,000 to $70,000 a year.

Savage is in his second term as president of CUPE Local 498, representing inside and outside workers in Port Coquitlam and is also a member of the NDP.

During his time with Port Coquitlam, he introduced a tactic that cuts the cost of salting roads in the winter to a fraction of what it was before.

Fifteen years ago, Savage converted fitted municipal trucks with sprayers to put brine (a 28-per-cent salt-and-water solution) on to the roads to prevent build up of ice and snow.

Port Coquitlam was among the first to do so and now cities around Metro Vancouver do the same.

“It’s way more effective because it actually adheres to the road.”

Consumption of road salt has dropped, creating a savings for the city and helping local streams in the process with less salt being washed into the drains.

He also wants to have municipal contracts or purchases favour local suppliers rather than group purchases which offer discounts.

“It looks good on paper, but in the long run, I don’t think it really saves.”

He also says when new trails are built as part of new suburban development, those trails are not maintained properly.