A lifelong resident and former mayor of the city, Gordy Robson is seeking re-election as city councillor.
“Four of our most seasoned, experienced councillors are out of the running.
Maintaining some kind of continuity is essential. Even for the most talented of newcomers, there will be a steep learning curve.”
Robson is a past Maple Ridge citizen of the year, was elected as mayor of the city in 2005 and led the group that won the Attorney General’s award for community action in the local Life or Meth campaign that eventually went province-wide.
“Its been a long four years,” Robson acknowledged. “Despite the time and resources spent on the homeless, we lost ground. If this doesn’t speak to doing things differently, I don’t know what does.”
Robson, who voted against three low barrier shelters proposed for high density residential neighbourhoods in Maple Ridge, said nothing will change until an option for treatment is implemented.
“We have to get people help and we have to minimize impact to our citizens and businesses.”
Other issues Robson wants to tackle in his next term include moving forward with a viable Albion plan, completion of the Abernathy Connector to relieve traffic congestion and entering into discussions related to a YMCA partnership that would result in multi-million dollars in savings for taxpayers.
“Four or five percent tax hikes are not the solution.”
Robson says the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport, creating a plan to deliver additional sports fields and ensuring “the city gets what it needs” in the Haney ByPass upgrade, are also on his radar.
Other Robson priorities include focus on ensuring “we get our fair share” at the regional table and that we have a voice in Translink’s mobility pricing proposal, which he sees as “punishing for our community”.
“Citizens with singular attention on the homelessness issue may not agree, but this council did rack up some solid achievements over the past four years.
“We have more sports fields coming on stream and a new hockey arena will be built. We also changed how we fund community amenities, raising development cost charges for the first time in a decade. These contributions to our reserves will translate into more parks, more facilities and more cultural opportunities that won’t be funded solely by taxpayers.
Later this month, Robson will be honored as a founder of the Alouette River Management Society. “I think it’s been close to 40 years since I began fighting with BC Hydro and the province to restore flow to the Alouette to protect salmon. During this term we brought pressure to bear and as a result, protection of our fish stocks has moved forward.
Robson is a retired local business person who earned a reputation for breathing life into non-performing businesses and cutting red tape to resolve social, environmental and business issues.
He has been attending council meetings since he was 15 years old and spent a decade as a provincial and federal political consultant. In the eighties, he joined an international delegation that taught a course in democracy at Karl Marx University in Budapest.
Almost two decades ago, he took the municipality to court over its failure to consult citizens before borrowing to build the town core development that includes The Act. He spent $60,000 of his own money and won.