In the last decade, mental health has been on the rise not only in B.C. but worldwide. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in seven young people in B.C. will personally experience a mental illness at some point. Two B.C. parents are far too familiar with their child experiencing a mental illness. Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart has a daughter in her early 20’s who has experienced anxiety and depression. Maple Ridge mom Belinda Tober is the mother of Chelsey Tober; a 17-year-old girl who took her own life nearly three years ago. These parents shared their stories about the struggles of finding resources for their children in the Lower Mainland.
After Nicole Read moved to Maple Ridge with her family eight years ago, she immediately noticed flaws within not only Maple Ridge’s council system, but the city as a whole.
Read and her family live in a small neighbourhood in Maple Ridge called Silver Valley.
It’s not quite far enough out to be separated from the city, but not quite close enough to make them in a central location with a small commute time to and from work and school.
Growing from a mom in a small town complaining about the issues she saw on her Facebook page, Read has turned into a powerful figure in her community who has addressed issues that have been looked over for years.
A figure so powerful, that she has gained the trust of the community to an extent that she replaced Maple Ridge’s two-term mayor, Ernie Daykin, in this year’s election.
Maple Ridge mayoral candidate Nicole Read has had enough of being on the outside when it comes to education in Maple Ridge. The working mom decided to run for mayor when she realized that nothing was being done about the fact that kids who live outside of the Maple Ridge core have little access to schools, due to none being around their area. My data visualization shows a map of where some central schools are located, as opposed to the more rural area which sees little to no schools.
The events which unfolded last Wednesday caused the entire nation to go into grieving mode.
Mayoral candidate for Maple Ridge, Nicole Read, took to Facebook Wednesday afternoon to call out city hall for not lowering their flags half mast for the fallen soldier.
The city officially says that they had in fact lowered their flags, and would keep them as so.
Read decided to drive past city hall herself to witness the lowering of the flags, but saw nothing different.
“I got in my car and drove down to City Hall at 1:30am. Neither have been lowered to half mast,” Read said.
Mayor Ernie Daykin says he’s disappointed in Read’s public call out as opposed to contacting him or City Hall directly.
“A set of flags were missed. No one is perfect and the lessons learned will ensure appropriate timing and action in the future,” Daykin said in an email. “If the roles were reversed based on what I view as a possible relationship… I would have called her first before posting.”
Chelsa Meadus is running for a council position in Maple Ridge, but isn’t promoting herself like most other candidates are. As opposed to engaging just the population, Meadus has decided to include all age groups, starting with youth who aren’t yet old enough to vote. “When I decided to run for council I thought prior to putting my paper work in that I needed to have a strong team that was somewhat of a representation of the public,” Meadus said. “So I gathered people together from really different walks of life. Meadus has also decided to add more diversity to her group in order to hear opinions from every spectrum. “We’ve got a youth component to our team most of which can not vote . . . we also have seniors on our team, and we also have people on our team that have suffered from homelessness and addiction,” Meadus said. One of the reasons she decided to run for counsel was because people can do a lot of talking with very little action in return. “They talk about all the promises they’re going to make and all the things they’re doing to do, and we thought ‘we’re not going to do that, we’re actually going to demonstrate what we’re talking about.” Meadus has also started something that’s never been done before. Starting in November, Meadus will be hosting “citizen-led engagement discussions” in order to address different issues in the community coming from different points of view. The first meeting will be on Nov. 3.
With Maple Ridge having 70 per cent of their police calls regarding problems or situations with the homeless population, the city will be spending $925,000 more than in 2013 on RCMP services alone.
The city will spend over 40 per cent of this year’s revenue on Police and Fire expenses combined, weighing in at a total of $15,950,000 on RCMP.
Mayor Ernie Daykin says that since the shut-down of Riverview mental facility, the lack of group homes and resources have affected Maple Ridge’s homelessness situation, along with a combination of increased development and a slow rise in housing prices.
Although the majority of calls received are having to do with homeless situations, according to Maple Ridge’s Financial Overview Report the largest factors to the increase in expenditures on police are Pension Costs and RCMP Overhead.
Daykin stressed the amount of money was being spent on police and claimed it was in large part due to the constant calls received regarding situations involving homeless people.
Politics and news concerning the municipality of Maple Ridge, covered by Langara journalism student Ashley Legassic.