The council race is heating up in Pitt Meadows.
Bob Meachen and Nicole MacDonald have announced their intention to seek seats on Pitt Meadows council in the Oct. 20 local elections.
Although they both declared their candidacy last week, and both support Coun. Bill Dingwall for mayor, Meachen clarified they are not part of a team, and he will not run on any council slate.
“Slate politics do not work in a small-town community, and I want that to change,” he said. “Decisions are being made that favour developers over the community.”
He said the city is at a critical juncture, because development opportunities are limited.
“We’re a very small municipality that is fast running out of land that can be developed,” he said.
Those land use issues are high on his agenda. He has frequently spoke against development plans for phases three and four of the Golden Ears Business Park – Onni’s warehouse development in South Bonson.
Meachen said he has talked to people who worked on the official community plan, and they did not plan for so much industrial space in the city, he said.
“I’m not against development, but what I’m seeing and what we’re getting is not what was envisioned 15 years ago,” he said.
He said the present council has ignored the public opposition to the project.
“We need a new style of leadership, that is more inclusive and respectful to all points of view,” he said.
He said the OCP needs to be restored to something closer to its original vision, which would be a mix of employment lands and a residential community in the south Harris Road and Airport Way area.
Although Meachen is not running on a team or slate, he supports Dingwall, and said his run at the mayoralty is part of the reason he chose to run.
“I believe that Bill Dingwall is the right style of leadership coupled with extensive experience to lead our city. It would be a privilege to be on council with him and I fully endorse his candidacy. I am very excited that we have someone of his integrity and background running for mayor,” he said.
Meachen is 67 and retired in 2014 after a career in the energy industry, and has served as a member of the Pitt Meadows Airport Advisory Committee.
MacDonald has a notary services business in Pitt Meadows and has lived in the city for 12 years with her family. She has always been interested in local politics and issues, but has been frustrated by the current council.
“It’s a council that’s not listening to its residents, and a prime example is the Golden Ears Business Park,” she said. “Most people know some development has to happen there, but not all industrial warehouses.
“We must restore the public’s trust and confidence in local government by listening to the community, and by transparently and accurately, representing our citizens’ voices,” she said.
Giving residents the resources to age in their homes is important to MacDonald. Her parents live with her family, and she referred to demographic studies predicting that, by 2040, Pitt Meadows with have 6,000 new residents, and more than half will be seniors. In her work she meets a lot of seniors who want to enjoy their retirement in Pitt Meadows.
“But to do so, they need support in medical services, a social community, improved transportation, and a broad range of housing options,” she said.
MacDonald is on the board of directors for the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society, is a mother of two, as is the coach of the under-8 Rockets softball team, she added with a laugh.
She endorsed Dingwall for mayor, saying there are rifts on council that need to be mended.
“I’m happy to hear Bill is running for mayor. I think he’s excellent in his leadership, and we need people who will work together.”
She said it is an important time for the city, with the north Lougheed property, Golden Ears Business Park, infill development and airport planning.
“For a small community, we’ve got a lot of complex and important issues that could change the course of the future,” she said.
“We need good, strong, fresh voices.”