Look to the South, East and West of Maple Ridge and what do you see? You see growing and thriving communities. Why is Maple Ridge not showing the same? To the East in Mission, West to Pitt Meadows, and South in Langley, all have attracted large retailers and malls with services and restaurants in the past several years while Maple Ridge has attracted none. Obviously, for those cities it is a priority. It is obvious they are open for business and that they will do what needs to be done to encourage the growth of their commercial base. A thriving commercial base provides a healthy tax base that allows cities to invest in infrastructure that serves their residents. Additionally, a healthy commercial tax base provides funding for the development of parks and environmental initiatives, crime reduction strategies, homelessness reduction strategies, and increased social and emergency services. Ignoring the necessity of attracting business to a community hampers their ability to provide the green services that make a community more attractive and healthy to live in.
One of the areas that Maple Ridge has failed to capitalize on is the business of tourism. We are horse capital of B.C., we have beautiful mountains, lakes, trails, and camp grounds that are consistently well-used. Indeed, our campsites in Golden Ears are consistently fully booked throughout the good weather months. Tourism is clean money and has no downside yet we have failed to take advantage of that resource. This is just one of the many ways Maple Ridge could develop and grow to provide a stronger, healthier community.