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I am committed to working hard for the people of Maple Ridge and if elected look forward to making you proud, I hope I can earn YOUR vote! - Chelsa Meadus
We have put together some real questions people have asked me and how I answered
*We have shortened some answers/questions for space*
What do you believe are the strengths and experience that you would bring to the role? - Kate B (email questions)
... I have worked for City Hall too, my experience was focused in the Parks and Leisure area where I served as a Program Assistant at the Greg Moore Youth Centre. I fondly remember the “great” ideas that came out of Council meetings and impacted our programs. Sometimes for the better but often these ideas did not reflect well with the concept of a Youth Initiated Program. I often felt frustrated because there was a lack of understanding of our philosophy and it devalued the amazing work the staff were already doing. I believe my understanding of the various departments will help me to be a better Councillor. I believe in working from a Matrix where Council understands if they add something to the work plan they must also take away something in the process. I appreciate and value the work staff does, and how the role has changed over the years. In Parks and Leisure, the demands of the job far exceed the public’s perception. I have always advocated publicly for our staff and I believe this is important as I believe I am the only candidate running with the experience of being a former City Staff for our own municipality.
I also have worked with the City as a contract worker, I worked exclusively in the Neighbourhood Development area. Focusing on building the strengths of a neighbourhood has benefits that reduce crime, help people feel connected, develop and support local business and allow that neighbourhood to develop their own identity and contribute to how their area should grow and be developed. This is where I grew my passion for Community Engagement. An engaged community is essential for connectivity and health. I believe this understanding and interest from our current Council has contributed to the current feeling of a divide. The Neighbourhood Development Programs were all cancelled by this last Council. The staff Dave Speers who oversaw that area was reassigned, I do not agree with this decision.
After leaving the City I have worked in the private sector, my passion is technology and I have recently developed a program that connects Doctors with Patients for an online face to face appointment using a phone, computer, or tablet and our platform. You can receive a prescription, requisition form or referrals www.p2pdoctor.com. In my business experience, I have learned that we as a City could do more to support local business. It is in our interest to support and develop local business. Maple Ridge is in a very challenging position with a tax base exclusively dependant on residences to support. Business Taxes are a lot higher and it can take four homes to produce the same tax revenue as one business. Therefore we need to do a lot more to assure our existing businesses are successful and recruit new opportunities for this town. As a business owner I understand the challenges, as a technology advocate, I am aware Maple Ridge needs to invest in the infrastructure to draw these businesses into relocating. We need to start looking at fibre-optic cabling and seek the advice from the successful technology companies we already have such as Left. These companies typically have a small footprint and provide jobs with livable wages. I would like to see Maple Ridge grow to offer more local jobs, my interest is in attracting companies that offer livable wages.
Engagement through Technology
Technology can be an effective tool in connecting with citizens, I would like to partner with local business to offer smart tablet stations where citizens can provide feedback on upcoming decisions, projects or simply get informed while waiting in line at the grocery store. I would also love to investigate programs that can connect only with citizens and businesses in a particular zone to get information when a zoning application is in consideration, or when repair work is to be done. These programs have become less expensive and more refined.
Volunteerism and Community Involvement
I helped fundraise for the creation of the Greg Moore Youth Centre and subsequently served on the Pitt Meadows Youth Centre Society where we fundraised to build the skatepark located at Thomas Haney Secondary, I have remained a board member for 13 years, we are now reshaping the Society to focus on Youth Leadership Opportunities. We are going to rename the society and expand it. We hope to be the first ever society that will accept support/donations of alternative currencies (crypto)
Since moving to Maple Ridge I have volunteered in many capacities for a number of agencies. I will list a few more of my favourites but a complete list can be found on
The Ridge Meadows Hospice Society - I have volunteered and worked for this amazing society. Offering end of life support as well as programs for bereavement and grief. All the programs are free and throughout my experience with them, I saw firsthand how valuable and life-changing the programs could be for people. Working with charities is essential to be a good Council member, you become an ambassador for the City and therefore must understand what amazing groups, societies and programs exist. In public service, it is important to understand the value Societies give to our citizens and to recognize the dedication of those facilitating these programs is essential.
Cops for Cancer - I have supported this great cause by organizing a Jail and Bail event. My son and I worked to raise 10,000 over a weekend. Home Show/Country Festival - I have typically supported these events by helping shuttle folks to the fair. I have also volunteered with: The Salvation Army, Canada Day, FRANAS (Fraser River All Nations Aboriginal Society), Adopt-A-Block, GETI Festival, Knights Football and a number of other organizations over the past 20 years.
B) What strengths do I bring?
People can claim to be collaborative but are they really. My skills are strong in this area. I believe the answers to a problem are found by working with others. I believe you learn more from people you disagree with than those you don't.
I ran in the last election, missing a seat by less than 1%. The last election I will admit the environment was NOT collaborative it was competitive. I didn't like that and I believe that supporting each other instead of bringing each other down makes for a better election. If your confident in your skills you don't need to be negative towards other candidates or their platforms, focus on yourself. I alerted my fellow candidates when their signs were down or if they had been damaged, opportunities to for exposure or anything I encountered that may help them. I never put down anyone's platform or critiqued their behaviour even when I completely disagreed. I helped every candidate who took up the offer, take their Shaw speech and create an individual video they could share on social media. Even when faced with negativity I always replied with respectful kindness. To try to avoid that environment again I have created a private Facebook group where candidates can help others, share election rules and genuinely collaborate.
Leadership and Integrity
I lead by example. I put my beliefs into practice. I am proud of the way I have handled the challenges I have faced, I hope I inspire people with a vision of the future and that if elected I will find success in motivating our community to actively engage in the work that needs to be done.
Hard working and Committed
You will not find anyone who will work harder. I thrive in a challenging environment. I just enjoy working, I also understand in order to be effective you must be prepared. I take very seriously the trust the public puts into the officials they elect and it is my commitment if elected to honour that responsibility.
People like to work with me and I enjoy working with them ( at least I hope so)
I believe this is a true statement. I know I can effectively work with anyone. I have no concerns about my ability to work with people, I would be an effective Councillor regardless of who is at the table with me. I tend to be successful at changing peoples minds if they have a misconception about me. I am honest but in the delivery of that honesty, I am both respectful and compassionate. I will tell people the truth directly to them and I work out challenges with people directly. I am pretty good at debating.
I am an effective communicator and believe in creating an environment where we can have an honest conversation. In the City environment, this is a challenge as often the picture painted by management is NOT what is actually occurring on the floor by the folks delivering the programs and services. I hope to create opportunities to change this by finding ways staff can have open honest conversations without the fear of retribution. I'd like to hear what we are doing now and look at other tools, management jump meetings (meet with those two levels above your direct supervisor) are something I've worked within the private sector and would like to entertain based on feedback. Council makes decisions based on staff recommendation often is that information is not correct a Council cannot be effective.
I have not been in support of the City's communication towards citizens, especially on Social Media. I have addressed this at the Director level after putting together several interactions (clips of) that were inappropriate and unprofessional. This would be an area I would like to assure we always remained professional and would be looking into how our connections could be supported and managed better.
I believe that one of the most important things is to remain always open to change. Coming to a Council meeting being prepared to change your decision if another Council member, staff or the public prove it is in the publics best interest to vote a certain way. Being stubborn for no reason is not an effective trait for local government. However being strong enough to stand by your convictions even under pressure is essential and something that contributes to a persons integrity
I am a professional person and as such conduct myself appropriately at all times. I have built a positive reputation in this community which is very important to me and something I am proud of. I am not a controversial candidate
What are some of your reflections on the past term and how would you like to see the next 4 years unfold in comparison and what do you believe are Maple Ridge’s top issues currently?
In answering this question I understand that I am answering from a point of advantage as I was not at the table and will admit I do not know all the reasons why our Council made the decisions they made.
I think our leadership believed they could solve a very complex problem of the housing, mental health, and addiction in our community. They thought they could solve it quite simply and in the process disregarded and dismissed community relationships, expert advice, years of history and the need for collaboration. As their plan started to fail instead of stopping, reassessing and changing course they pushed forward. Instead of taking up the opportunity for assistance they pushed everyone away. They contributed to a divide by refusing to engage with citizens who disagreed and labelled those people thus creating a divide. They bickered and bullies with each other and the public which made some people sick and forced others into hiding and all of it took away from working at the Municipal Council table.
My thoughts are compiled from what has been told to me from other levels of government, stakeholders, and my own experience trying to support Council
The goal for the future
I would like to see the community coming together. Although there are several different opinions on how to manage addiction/substance abuse issues and mental health in our community there are far more people interested than ever before in helping to make Maple Ridge a great place to Live, Work and Play
My goal is to engage the community in the solution
I would like to see an approach where we are targeting behaviour, we need to get back to community policing where police are building relationships on a street level. We need to clarify we are a town that supports people but is not accepting of criminal behaviour and we need to have consistent messaging
We need to have supports in place for people who need help, our message is clear, those that want help will be helped but those that want to engage in activities of an illegal nature are not welcome. This message needs to be consistent and delivered by all our partners and stakeholders.
I expect the Provincial government to be at the table and will work hard to create that relationship. I would like our community to direct Provincial resources into the areas of need we identify
Focus on Economic Growth
I would like to look at what actions we can undertake to rapidly grow our business. I would first advocate for our Business Development Team to do one thing. Grow and support business. Our current council has our business department now overseeing Core Security which I believe is not an effective use of their time and expertise. If business development is truly important that's all this department should be focused on.
I would love to see Maple Ridge have Leisure facilities that compare to other communities. As a sports parent, I travel regularly to other communities and realize we are very behind in what we offer. We need to catch up and build for the future
Maple Ridge will need to advocate for transportation solutions, with most of our community leaving each day to go to work commuters are looking for opportunities to take public transit that lessens their time spent in traffic and is cost effective. As someone who has commuted for work, I understand and appreciate the need for more solutions
What are your thoughts on the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows relationship?
I think we need to do more to work together. In the past, I believe both Cities received benefits from combining resources and perhaps with a more diplomatic approach that relationship could have been explored and altered to assure both parties received benefits while staying connected. Moving forward I will do my best to facilitate a better relationship between the two cities. I have already reached out to one of the Mayorial candidates to express my hope for our cities if elected. I have a great relationship with many of the candidates running in Pitt Meadows through volunteering and feel these relationships will help in working together
Do you have any particular thoughts on any of the other candidates?
I know just about everyone running and there are a number of great candidates to choose from. The last election I was completely independent but this election I have been working with a number of candidates to share distribution of work. We are independent but we have found we are similar on many issues and work well together
Judy Dueck -I have known Judy for about 20 years. I value her leadership and expertise and have always found her approachable, intelligent and honest. She is interested in local government for the right reasons and I truly respect her. I also value that her professionalism allows her to vocalize her opinion but leave the disagreement at the door. I encourage you to learn about Judy more on her website and social media
Ryan Svensen -A Firefighter who grew up in Maple Ridge. I met Ryan 3 months ago, he is intelligent, has a clearly defined vision for Maple Ridge, is trustworthy and a team player. He is approachable and community minded. I encourage you to check out his profile and platform
Ahmed Yousef - We met volunteering about 9 months ago, he is educated, a business owner and respectful. Approachable, energetic and motivated he is ready for the challenge. I encourage you to check out his profile and platform
Don Mitchell - Ran last election, a leader, well connected with the senior's network. Attends every council meeting and has for years, a long-time resident, good decision maker, possesses integrity and commitment. He also is an avid volunteer. Check out his profile for more information facebook at Don Mitchell for Maple Ridge
What should I keep in mind while casting my votes?
This is a job interview. Look for the same things you would in an employee. You have asked some key questions, in responses qualify who is taking this seriously, and where do they stand. Who is using innovative ways to connect with you. Is there substance behind ideas. Do they understand what role they play and what the mandate is? Has the candidate just shown up, or do they have a long track record of community service
Are you doing any coffee chats or community events so people can get to know you better?
Yes, pending the release of candidate meetings I will be doing more meet and greets. I will be at the Ranch Pub on Oct 10, 6 PM along with other candidates. On October 17 we plan to have another evening event, just working on the details. I will be also doing online facebook live sessions and community connections. I encourage you to follow me on facebook under Chelsa Meadus both personally and as a candidate. You will find the events as they are planned listed there.
As a counsellor, how would you solve the homeless problem at tent city? Currently, they are building temporary housing for tent city residents. However, when those current residents at tent city move to that housing, will new homeless people not just replace them? Maple Ridge will then just attract an endless stream of homeless from other areas. Another issue is where to build housing for the homeless? NIMBY, or “not in my backyard” is the response from most property owners in Maple Ridge. I am very sure that I would not want “homeless” to come and live near me, would you? My property would lose value, crime increase, and drug use would occur in the area. This is not just a “stereotype” of the homeless at tent city, it is a reality. I would want a future councillor of my city to have “workable” and realistic solutions for this social problem. So what are your solutions for the tent city, if you are elected?
Homeless is a complex issue and I am not here to set up a platform that says I will solve homelessness like past mayor and council members did. It deserves a multitiered approach one that includes all levels of government. What I do know is that we have a mental health and addiction crisis and homeless is a symptom of that. Its a challenge we see throughout Metro Vancouver and an investment in Treatment and Prevention services will play a role in reducing this crisis. I understand the Province is working on a poverty reduction strategy and I am interested in the results of that looks like, to see how this could assist in our community. I have an enforcement strategy I would like to implement as well (see My Pledge). This would target behaviours, not the person. We need to be consistent in our messaging and approach if we want to change.
As a community, we need to find common ground, balance the right of all citizens. We need to consider the many impacts of the decisions we make. Our community has developed very polarized views and we need to work together in the best interests of Maple Ridge. I would not support additional low barrier options in our community, at this time. We need to find alternatives that facilitate a continuum of care and that are focused on stopping the cycle of addiction. We need options that promote healthy choices. Ideally, I’d like to get to a place where the path to recovery is easier to find and more welcoming and available, then the spot that supports continued addiction. In Maple Ridge it is easier to stay an addict then it is to be in recovery and I have issue with that.
I will :
1. Immediately seek an injunction to decamp Anita Place
2. Develop and Enforcement Strategy with RCMP, BYLAWS, Security, Fire and other stakeholders. We need boots on the ground, relationship building. We need our Police, Security, and Bylaws talking to people and through these initiatives, we will see a positive change.
3. Work with the Province on a strategy that supports mental health and addiction recovery and continuum of care. We cannot house our way out of an addiction and mental health crisis, I believe the citizens of Maple Ridge deserve options that focus on healthy choices with the goal of assisting every citizen to reach their full potential.
4. Be proactive in our approach to the modular housing project to make sure the area is safe, secure and reduce any impacts on the neighbourhood. Involving the Province to support costs associated with achieving this goal and involving the Enforcement Strategy Team for a collaborative, responsive approach.
I"ve noted that almost every post on here discusses where candidates stand on the homelessness issue. I worry about electing people based on a single issue. That's how people elected our last mayor, and once she got in she tried to do something, made more of a mess than ever, then threw up her hands and said it was a provincial and federal issue and local council didn't have the power to do anything! I think there needs to be an even focus, discussing where people stand on other issues in our city. What about their opinion on preserving ALR vs encouraging development? What about their feeling about encouraging more housing vs commercial development? What about their opinion on the leisure center developments and moneys spent there? What about our longstanding working relationship with Pitt Meadows that was severed during the last council's term.....do they agree with maintaining things separately or do they want to try to rebuild bridges? - (Facebook Post)
Housing vs Commercial- with approximately 93% dependency on residential taxes we have a massive problem. With most of the community leaving to commute to jobs we also have a problem. Growing business, creating local jobs will have many positive results. But in addition to that, I’d like to see us attracting companies that pay livable wages
How: I would suggest we set targets for our business development office. We aggressively need to have a business relocation strategy. We turn challenges into opportunities by asking - what will it take for you to move to Maple Ridge?
Leisure Centre- I was not present in the discussion but from my lens, I wouldn’t have put a new face on an old structure. I think we could have used the land beside the pool and created a new facility with retail opportunities and business space, we desperately need places to locate business, that land is rarely used. Leisure- we do need more, sports Fields I travel all over because MR cannot properly facilitate hosting multiple team sports, Multipurpose parks, we have not kept up with other municipalities. SRT it’s a good field but It’s embarrassing that there are no change rooms and kids are changing in the car, the bathrooms are broken and the concession consists of some tents where the servers have to avoid puddles! I feel humiliated as a sports parent with 300 people 1/2 from another city commenting on the above. Pitt Meadows- having worked in Parks and Leisure I have been disappointed in the broken relationship. It has cost everyone more and the recreation master plan will need to be updated to reflect the loss of Pitt Meadows. I have connected with Mr. Dingwall and expressed my hope that our two cities can work together, I have done the same with many running as councillors. Absolutely we need to collaborate with them. There are many more issues nobody seems interested in. One being technology, we are behind on our infrastructure- I have a plan to deal with that, we should be moving towards smart city initiatives as we replace lights, services, garbage cans. These save money. Technology companies are great employers if we don’t have fiber-optic they won’t be coming. Community Engagement people can say they want more but what is their actual plan to implement tools to assure the public has opportunities to contribute? I will be suggesting the Council consider programs that are inexpensive but ask, engage and target citizen feedback. I have researched these and understand the value they hold. There are many other issues such as infrastructure, the proposed mobility tax. I have listed my position on everything you asked plus much more on my website that will be released Friday.
The provincial governments over the past few years have been an abysmal failure regarding ride sharing. In places like Maple Ridge, where we have inadequate public transit and a taxi monopoly that has a relatively negative reputation, alternative transportation is not just a matter of choice, but one of safety. We need more effective public transit, yes. But we also need to allow ridesharing. More options will allow people with disabilities, who don’t drive, who have a few drinks at the bar or party, seniors, etc. to get where they need safely and effectively. All of the concerns people express about safety, insurance, and background checks are easily solved through effective regulation. I recognize that it’s up to the province, but the municipalities can have a lot of impact on the provincial government’s timeline. Where do you stand on ridesharing and what will you do to on council to affect the immediate approval or delay of ridesharing in our city. - Aaron Davis (Facebook Post)
Ridesharing is a great concept! I agree with your picture an app is really a necessity to make this realistic. In terms of app development it’s really expensive (I have a background in this area) and would probably cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, therefore, it’s possibly out of the reach of one municipality, however, why couldn’t a collaborative effort be made with many Cities to recruit interest from a private business ? The cost for that business could be supplemented by allowing advertisers to post on the site. I have to wrap my head around the liability of the city in case someone in the program injured someone else, or in terms of liability with insurance etc. but as stated I’m sure due diligence can help that. *we need more info on what the Province is proposing*
Maple Ridge is woefully behind other communities regarding our amenities for dog owners. In contrast, New Westminster has 8 dog parks for 70,000 residents. There is a park accessible to every neighbourhood. In Maple Ridge, we have just 5 off-leash areas for 82,000 residents and most are not accessible without a vehicle. In Maple Ridge, if you have a dog and live downtown without a car, there’s no dog park within walking distance. Most neighbourhoods have to travel a long way to find one. And like many other things in Maple Ridge, there is a vocal NIMBY population that advocates against any further parks - and that the city bows to. If we want more responsible dog ownership we need to support dog owners with amenities like accessible dog parks. If there are places we can take our dogs to socialize and play, it’s less likely we’re going to find dog poo in all the wrong places, for example. Maple Ridge is not a dog-friendly city by any stretch. In my 3 story building, there are about 15 dogs. More and more people are moving into condos and apartments with dogs and have nowhere to take them for exercise and play because there is not one off leash or even dog-friendly area in downtown Maple Ridge despite there being a ton of possible locations. If elected, how will you address this issue and make Maple Ridge family friendly for all members of our family, including dogs? - Aaron Davis
I have a fur baby myself so I agree with the need for multi-use parks however these parks have also lead to challenges when located in the wrong places. Therefore I would be very interested in intense community consultation for any park that had a dog park incorporated concept into it. Ideally, if they can be located a distance from residential that is ideal but in your example, you refer to the walking distance from the core. That could be a challenge
How will you grow local business and commerce and how will you be accountable for results. Posted on Facebook
Our business Development office should be working within a targeted framework system. Council sets the direction the CEO is responsible to work with staff to achieve those targets or work to address them. If we run our Business Development Office as such and take absolutely everything off their plate except the reciting and supporting of business; we should achieve some significant milestones! The City is famous for dumping work on departments then expecting them to achieve the unachievable. That’s why I propose a singular targeted focus. In my professional career, this is how I am kept accountable, on track and focused.=
While it is not a huge concern, it is one of those annoying things that only the city council can address. We encourage people to shop and dine locally and we talk about revitalizing the downtown core to attract more retail and local business yet, we have 1 hour in many places as well as pay parking. Recently I was towed from the nail salon, which of course takes longer than an hour. I can go to Pitt Meadows, Langley, and Coquitlam and not have to pay for parking and have many longer options. - Bambina Latina (facebook post)
I agree with you. I used to attend a yoga studio you could not find any parking over an hour- it’s an hour class plus set up and exit. We all got tickets at times I literally felt like we were being set up by the bylaws, finally, the studio packed up and left. I think when looking at businesses maybe multi-session parking or even “reserved for” could be considered. If elected I would look to the city staff for their feedback on this concept and what they have experienced from the public in terms of recommendations before I could consider a solution.
Will you support an additional low barrier facility in Maple Ridge? - Stephen M (Albion Neighbours- facebook)
I believe in a continuum of care approach, my concern is that we are only putting investments into the low barrier model. Where is the continuum in that approach? Where is the funding for people to help get them off of drugs when they are ready? I want to make healthy choices accessible for people and I am concerned ONLY investing in low barrier makes it easier for people to stay in a cycle of addiction. We have a mental health and addiction crisis and we need a multi-step approach. That is what I support. I care about our community and I am concerned we currently make it easier to stay an addict then we do to get clean, I’d like to make it easy for people to get help, so they can change their lives for the better and live up to their full potential.