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LETTER: Maple Ridge City priorities don’t match with reality on the street

Local resident says community falling behind on infrastructure, safety, and more
Maple Ridge Mayor Dan Ruimy announced the new city logo and branding at the Economic Development summit on Oct. 11, 2023. (The News files)

Dear Editor,

[Re: City helping entrepreneurs to survive, The News, Nov. 17]

I read with interest the articles in The News, Nov. 17, regarding several items on the Maple Ridge council’s agenda; supporting small businesses, extending Abernathy for another east west connecting roadway, and the housing and population growth, and I have questions:

What exactly does “supporting small businesses” entail?

I think it’ll take much more than the new logo Mr. Westover [Maple Ridge director of economic development] touts in the article on page B4. I know some small businesses have closed their doors because of safety and vandalism issues. How are you ensuring small business can continue to operate in Maple Ridge when clientele don’t feel safe entering these premises? I have been in a small business shop when right in front of me and the staff, shoplifters have filled their pockets and walked out with little to no recourse.

How can a small business stay operating under these kinds of conditions? Last election voters criticized the lack of local retail shopping, but it seems Mr. Westover doesn’t believe the people of Maple Ridge as the article on pg B5 states “he’s reserving judgement on this issue until he gets real data.”

So how will he get this real data? Hire a research company paid for by the citizens? Are the taxpayers footing the bill to get the “real data” that will corroborate what we, the citizens, already know?

I have lived in Maple Ridge for over 40 years. I love living here, but other than groceries I no longer shop in Maple Ridge. A short commute out of Maple Ridge takes me to a large variety of stores, none of which are available in Maple Ridge, and I don’t need to navigate through drug dealers and harassment to shop at these stores.

When exactly does the extension of Abernathy become a reality?

For decades there has been talk of a need for this extension and a bridge across the Alouette River at 240th, but so far that is all it has been… just talk. But over these decades there has been a significant increase in housing and population. Population growth brings more traffic so why hasn’t there been progress on another east/west route through Maple Ridge to accommodate this expected growth?

According to The News’ articles, there is a lot of housing being built and planned for in Maple Ridge bringing more families in to our community. Families who will need schools, sports fields, swimming pools and ice rinks. When was the last time Maple Ridge invested in additional ice rinks, ball fields or swimming pools?

How many schools were built in the past four years to accommodate the hundreds of new housing units built in that time period? How many schools are operating with portables as classrooms? (This year three more schools have had to add portables.) A family should not have to drive their children across town to a school because the one near their home is over capacity. This cannot possibly be an unexpected result as council must be in charge or at least aware of the number of building permits issued.

I hate math but simple arithmetic and common sense would give you an answer; more houses = more people= need for more schools, shopping and activity venues. With the amount of property taxes Maple Ridge is raking in from its vast housing expansion surely there must be money for some of the amenities that would make this town a welcoming and convenient place to live, work, play and shop in.

Maple Ridge is growing faster than double the national average, but it is not keeping up with the needs of the people who live here or who will move here.

The mayor says city leaders are trying to ensure infrastructure keeps pace with the growth. I say, try harder! We are not keeping pace. We are falling behind.

Terri Marlow, Maple Ridge


• READ MORE: City of Maple Ridge unveils new branding