Editor, The News:
It’s election-time in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Journalists have dubbed this period the ‘silly season’ because of the mind-numbing Niagra of slogans, leaflets , ads, letters to the editor and glowing promises.
They reveal much pretzel logic, myopia, and, not as common, some common sense ideas.
Among candidates, there appears to be two major approaches to our future.
Firstly, there is a vocal group, which clamours with a large billboard and regular letters to the editor, for more shopping malls, and using the slogan of convenience, more jobs, more tax revenue . It does sound so good.
It also seems that the logical aim of this group would be to have Walmart stores, east, west and near the centre, preferably on the Albion flats.
Wordsworth’s words of concern – “Late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers” – ring even more true today.
Proponents of the second group point out that we must have growth, but it must be planned and sustainable development to prevent the ugliness of the urban sprawl that blights so many fast expanding towns and suburbs, and which depletes too mush of the world’s increasingly scarce and finite resources, and arable land.
Walmart relies on cheap goods made in low-wage countries, pays its workers low wages, can afford to sell cheaply, and profits go mostly out of the country.
Of greatest concern for many is the impact big box stores such as these have on local smaller, long established local businesses, some of which could go under.
All official statistics show that, collectively, small businesses create more employment than large ones.
We have more than a thousand businesses in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, which have generously supported the many community sports and cultural activities that make our area the gem it is – admired by visitors and tourists.
We owe local businesses our support.
Already we have seen the second group attacked with pretzel logic. It is accused of trying to make a Mayberry out of our community.
Even allowing for ‘silly season’ rhetoric, this exaggeration is way out.
Voters have choices. Let’s hope they choose wisely.