Maple Ridge Coun. Craig Speirs has announced he will be running for mayor in the October 2018 local elections.
“I couldn’t see anybody on the horizon whom I would support,” said Speirs. “If there’s no one you could support, then it’s up to you.”
Speirs ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1996, and then was elected to council for the first time in 1999. Other than one three-year term from 2011-2014, he has served on council since that time.
“I have the type of progressive leadership that will move this community forward,” said Speirs in a press release.
“Our future is bright as long as we have a mayor and council willing to reach for it.”
Speirs said the present council will be able to look back on some achievements.
“One of this council’s greatest successes was changing how we fund community amenities by asking for more from the development process. These financial contributions to our reserves mean we will be able to have more parks, recreational assets and cultural facilities,” he said.
“As we grow we will be able to create the city we all want, that works for everyone, without relying on the residential tax base as much.”
Another success has been the Open Government task force that has led to the Open Government Portal. This digital portal gives direct access to a broad range of city hall business.
He said the portal won a national award, and is indicative of the leadership the city can show.
An immediate challenge for the new council will be dealing with homelessness, and that means finding a location for a purpose-built homeless shelter and supportive housing facility.
“We’re going to need a council with strength – people who are willing to brave the storms,” said Speirs. “We need to buckle down, as a community, and say ‘we need solutions.’”
He said the modular housing being placed on Royal Crescent will buy the new council some time, but a decision needs to be made early in the mandate.
“People are literally dying on the streets, and we need solutions to help get them out of that life.”
Speirs said he has worked on a variety of community issues, and has a record of protecting the city’s industrial base, agricultural lands, natural environment and social programs.
“As mayor, I will be in an even stronger position to protect these assets.”
He has been a director with the Lower Mainland Local Government Association for three years and is presently a director with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Speirs has lived in the city since 1973, raising his family here, and worked at the liquor store for 34 years. So far, the only other candidate to announce he will run for mayor is former mayor Ernie Daykin.