I received a request for clarification from a local home owner, and thought I would share my answers here on my blog.
1) curious what you mean by update by-laws – does this concern the recent upset by local by-laws personnel and interpretation of current bylaws?
2) Water act modernization. How does this process protect the families land ownership on local rivers and waterways? Futher devalue our land asset?
Thanks for the opportunity to clarify some of my work. When first elected to council we looked at areas that needed to be addressed in regards to improved service levels to the public. One of the areas was our By-Laws department, as it had many by-laws that had not been updated in years. This work was on-going and started long before the upset with the RVs and canopies. That occurred due to one person lodging over 100 complaints. I personally felt that we could have handled that one much better and I stated as much during our discussions. I would have preferred if the situation had been brought to council when so many complaints came in with a request that council see it as a priority review and with a recommendation to put the complaints in abeyance until the review was done. That is what ended up happening anyways and I believe we are on the road to a better by-law that will find the balance that is needed.
So in reality, my reference to by-laws update is the work needed as a whole, which is on-going in the department. But a few examples of by-laws that I have specifically asked us to review as priorities are: 1) Our improved practice for businesses that serve liquor to display signage about drinking while pregnant. My Substance MisUse Prevention Committee has worked extensively with the Asante Centre and Public Health and we have redesigned this by-law to make it part of the business license requirement to display proper signage. This will be coming forward in the New Year and is considered very progressive in the Harm Reduction arena. 2) I proposed vacant lot and derelict building by-law improvements, which staff are now working on to bring best practice forward for council consideration. 3) I asked that the metal theft by-law be given priority review when I was informed by a local farmer how much a recent theft from his operations cost him, as metal thieves had stolen all of his computer and green house cables–$100,000 worth–which he thought might officially put him financially under. I went to a regional meeting with our manager of by-laws and reported back to council and they supported moving forward on this work. Our district actually took the lead on the by-law and we have probably stronger language than what the province is now looking at. We will continue to work on advocacy at the provincial level with this, as it is a huge cost to all of us, as the theft of metal hits every large industry and many homeowners.
As for the Water Act Modernization Process, the provincial government is reviewing the Water Act that is 100 years old. It has been engaging the public via public meetings and on-line submissions for almost two years and the end result will be new policies governing ground and surface water. Here is the link to this process http://www.livingwatersmart.ca/water-act/docs/wam_wsa-policy-proposal.pdf I felt that we have gone above and beyond in protecting our waterways in this community, so I requested our council join with the local environmental groups to put in a submission. Our submission was about protecting all of our rights to accessing our drinking water and public control of such. A number of people are concerned about the privatization of our water, as opposed to public ownership and we wanted to make sure we had a say in the future of how our water will be treated by the government. I have attached our submission for you to read, so that you can see that it is clearly not about taking your rights away as land owner on a waterway. Nor would it have anything to do with your land value, as I would assume that you do not pollute the water you live by and see the value in protecting the waterway that probably keeps your property assessed at a high level, due to desirability. I know I would pay more to live by the water.
As far as your comment about recent events, I am not sure which you are talking about, but the one’s that I am hearing about are the raise council voted for and taxes. While I did not vote for the raise and have already made arrangements with finance, if re-elected, to not receive the raise for the entire next term, I believe council did the right thing by agreeing to review the raise in the first year, as I argued that the process was flawed and they agreed to look at it.
As far as taxes go. I have never worked with a more dedicated group of people who try to do more with less–staff and council. Here is a link that personifies how others see what exists in our district and what we continue to foster and strive to improve. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/12/14/national-post-editorial-board-local-politics-matters/ I wish people would come and see us at work. I am proud of how hard we work on the problems and the solutions we feel will assist Maple Ridge reach its full potential.
I am a homeowner also, if I don’t care about your home then that means I don’t care about mine or the one my boys just purchased together in Maple Ridge, as I have always worked from what is best for the “collective”. You couldn’t be more farther from the truth if you think I have stopped listening or supporting the public; as the last three years is full of evidence to the contrary.