We owe our local businesses

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.

Charles Ellman

Maple Ridge