Something doesn’t smell right in Maple Ridge. I talk a lot of people while I’m out in the community. These conversations often raise vexing questions.
For, instance, why did it take four years, and cost well over $100,000 in rent, for a little family restaurant as they waited for city approvals to open? In stark contrast, it seems like a vape shop, a tiny pharmacy, or cheque cashing service can open almost overnight.
Our city staff appears to approve businesses that feed upon the poor while keeping businesses that would improve our community on hold for years. Who can afford to pay rent for four years while the city loses and finds paperwork?
Most people I talk to wonder why we are building tiny, expensive townhouses and condos as far as the eye can see, without adequate services nearby.
Families need schools close to where they live. They want to shop close to home. We don’t have enough businesses in Maple Ridge to carry a larger part of the tax burden, so our property taxes are higher than in many communities.
Is our council and city staff doing right by those of us who elect and pay them? What is the logic that covers our city in high-density housing and leaves communities without enough useful services nearby.
In this election year, I ask you to think about all of these things.
Casey Hrynkow Shewchuk, Maple Ridge
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