Letters: Back up claim about rural folks

Coun. Craig Speirs' comments are offensive and dangerous.

Craig Speirs

Editor, The News:

Re: Maple Ridge council votes against one-acre lots, (The News, April 29.)

Rural residential developments in Maple Ridge are evidently characterized by children who are “less fit, less socialized and they’re more obese”, according to Coun. Craig Speirs. Or at least we are led to believe this is endemic for the un-urbanized areas in Maple Ridge.

As a long-time resident of rural Maple Ridge, I couldn’t help but take extreme offence to this nonsensical comment.

Although I should take it with a grain of salt, and liken it to a Trump-like Speirs-ism, I couldn’t help but feel as though comments like this are dangerous coming from an elected official in the city that I dearly love. Being a city councillor does not alllow one to freely make unsubstantiated claims, but should motivate you to seek the truth and make decisions in the best interests of the city’s residents.  Although Speirs believes it’s “strictly a number game,” I ask that he present east Maple Ridge residents with the numbers he is talking about.

With a quick search of the UBC library stacks, no peer-reviewed article, study or census provided me with the numbers “we know about.”

It is true that studies show that in remote, rural communities in unpopulated areas in Canada, there is a plethora of heightened health risks; these don’t apply to Metro Vancouver residents living on the fringes of a suburb town totalling more than 75,000 people.

Additionally, not one time was the word ‘obese’ chronicled in a 20-page report, entitled Health Issues in Rural Canada, prepared by the Political and Social Affairs Division of the federal government, and was not amongst the highest health concerns for children, adolescents and adults in the report.

As a former Team Canada athlete, current Maple Ridge Hometown Hero, successful small business owner, engineer, but above all, devoted and proud Whonnock resident, I challenge Mr. Speirs’s comment.

Growing up, I was surrounded by like-minded, sociable and fit friends, who were also growing up in “rural” Maple Ridge. In no way did my time did that hinder my ability to excel in sports, education and social interactions.

I feel that my character was strengthened and molded by my time living in the sticks of Maple Ridge.

Although I’m well into my adulthood, I still see many well-adjusted young people, who are world-class athletes excelling at an international level.

I cease to understand the intent of the comments made. Are we to assume that if land is re-zoned to one-acre lots, more families who inhabit the region, will become fat, socially undeveloped and unfit? Or is it a Catch-22? If Speirs is truly concerned about the physical and emotional health of rural Maple Ridge children, shouldn’t he be in favour of urbanization?

At the end of the day, it was just a stupid comment made that served no purpose to the topic at hand, other than its unintended effects of possibly alienating east Maple Ridge children and hillbillies like myself.

I don’t necessarily disagree with council’s decision to deny one-acre rezoning, but the useless colour commentary by Speirs is not needed.

 

Sean McBeath

Maple Ridge

Just Posted

Maple Ridge senior facing homelessness at the end of the month

Jean Ticehurst can’t find affordable housing

Debate goes on about nutrition and autism in Maple Ridge

Spoke Wednesday at the Chrysta Learning Centre

UPDATE: Car plunges down embankment in Maple Ridge

Two people injured in morning incident

New rail underpass and overpass comes with costs

Pitt Meadows residents will see 0.75 per cent tax increase for rail crossings

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, vehicle crashes

Happened in early evening, injuries unknown

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read