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Ruimy and his Better Maple Ridge team sweep into city hall

Former mayor Morden and his Maple Ridge First team decimated

Mayor elect Dan Ruimy and his entire A Better Maple Ridge slate were elected on Saturday night.

Incumbent mayor Mike Morden and two members of his Maple Ridge First slate were defeated at the polls.

New councillors from A Better Maple Ridge will be former school board chair Korleen Carreras, with Jenny Tan, Sunny Schiller and Onyeka Dozie – who are all new to municipal politics.

“I’m so humbly honoured to be accepting the position of mayor, especially that I have my whole team with me,” said Ruimy. “What an amazing feeling.”

Incumbent councillors Chelsa Meadus and Ryan Svendsen were voted out, so longtime councillor Judy Dueck was the only member of the MRF slate to hold onto her seat.

Topping the polls for councillors with 6,028 votes was incumbent councillor Ahmed Yousef, who was the only independent councillor to be elected. All results are unofficial.

“Congratulations to Judy and to Yousef, they will be totally welcomed on our team,” said Ruimy. “And each one will bring their own independent voices, to each one of our own independent voices.”

Dueck said she was sad for her colleagues, but ready to get on with the job.

“I can work with anyone,” said Dueck. “I think over my 25 years of service I’ve proven that I can work with anybody.”

“It’s disturbing when I hear that the relationships were bad,” she added. “The fact is, four of us worked together well, and six of us worked together well 95 per cent of the time.”

The race saw the Maple Ridge First slate of incumbents challenged by A Better Maple Ridge, running a slate with no candidates with city council experience.

MR First has emphasized its handling of the homeless issue in the city, including its Community Social Safety Initiative, and hiring of staff called Community Safety Officers (CSOs) to handle the issue.

Ruimy touted his ability to deal with senior governments, and track record of winning grant funds for the city as an MP.

Veteran councillor Corisa Bell also joined the race for mayor, while former city councillors Bob Masse and Craig Speirs also ran again.

Voters were spoiled for choices, as there were 11 other new faces running for the six council seats, and Jacques Blackstone and Darleen Bernard also ran for mayor.

Ruimy garnered 6,306 (44 per cent) votes, compared to Morden’s 4,321 (30 per cent), Bell’s 2,799 (19 per cent), Bernard’s 600 (four per cent) and Blackstone’s 346 (2.4 per cent).

Morden won the 2018 election with 11,287 votes, which was more than all of his challengers combined. He beat both Ernie Daykin, who had been mayor from 2008 to 2014, and longtime city councillor Speirs.

READ ALSO: 2018 Election result closes chapter for ex-Maple Ridge mayor

As he was defeated at the polls, Daykin remarked he was one of just two people to have won two terms in the past 40 years. That’s a trend that continues.

After Yousef, Tan was second with 5,636 votes, Carreras third with 5,438, Schiller fourth with 5,155, Dueck fifth with 5,018 and Dozie sixth with 4,881.

Speirs said it took a slate to beat a slate, and Ruimy had no choice but to assemble a team.

“Ruimy and his team did an excellent job,” he said. “They stayed positive.”

Speirs didn’t, running a campaign that attacked Maple Ridge First.

“I did what I wanted to do, that’s point out their record,” he said.

Morden’s slate has been dogged by controversy about council infighting, as both veteran councillors Gordy Robson and Kiersten Duncan were disciplined in private meetings.

Robson took the matter to the BC Supreme Court to have the city’s censure reversed, and the matter was just resolved in September.

Neither Robson or Duncan ran in the election.

“I think it (the election) was really about a more inclusive community, and it was about making sure that we’re including voices at the table,” said Carreras. “The community was looking for change, and I’m really grateful they chose A Better Maple Ridge as an avenue for change. We’re going to have to work every day to live up to that expectation, and we’re really looking forward to that challenge.”

Bell said it was disheartening to see the low voter turnout – just 14,491 ballots cast out of an estimated 67,339 eligible voters, according to the unofficial numbers.

“The people have spoken, and I wish our new council the very best,” said Bell.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge city council settles legal dispute with councillor

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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