Former Mayor Ernie Daykin has officially announced his intention to once again run for Maple Ridge city hall’s top job.
He plans to launch his campaign on Tuesday night from Humble Roots Cafe and Deli, surrounded by supporters.
He is the first politician to formally announce his intention to run for mayor in the upcoming Oct. 20 local elections.
“My great-grandparents came to Maple Ridge looking for a place to raise a family, to build a community, and to find opportunities,” said Daykin in a press release.
“Those are still the reasons I live here, and those are the reasons I am running for mayor of this great city.”
Daykin said his focus will be on “bringing people back together so that Maple Ridge and its citizens can move forward from a place of strength and common ground.”
Mayor Nicole Read defeated Daykin in the November 2014 election, after he had served on council for 12 years, including six as mayor. Read earned 5,637 votes against Daykin who came third with 3,958. Former councillor Mike Morden came in second in the 2014 election, with 4,825 votes.
Morden has also said he’s considering running but hasn’t formally announced.
Read has said she will not be seeking re-election.
Coun. Craig Speirs is the only member of council to have expressed an interest in the position, but he has not confirmed his candidacy for mayor.
“I’m excited,” Daykin said of re-entering the political fray. “Someone said to me on the weekend: ‘I knew you had some gas left in the tank.'”
Daykin said he enjoys representing the city, and being an ambassador, “but recognizing that we’re got some things to work on.”
After 12 years at the council table, he was able to watch with a unique insight for four years. However, Daykin declined to say where he thinks this council could have done better.
“Sitting on the sidelines, I don’t know the whole story,” he said. “I’ve watched with interest.”
Mayor Nicole Read was openly critical of past councils. On the recreation file, she said the city had allowed residential development to proceed without a plan to provide more sports fields and facilities.
“Over the course of the last year, this council has had to deal with a number of issues that have been years in the making. This is one of them,” she said in a statement in 2015.
Daykin said a global economic crisis in 2008 cast a shadow over the city’s parks and recreation master plan, which was completed the following year.
“There’s reasons why we were conservative at the time,” he said.
“I’m going to focus on what lies ahead, and what we can pull off together.”
Daykin said there are many issues to address, from homelessness, downtown development, transit and a plebiscite on garbage collection. He said he will offer more details about his approach to these issues as the campaign continues.
He has stayed involved in the city, serving on the Maple Ridge Community Foundation, and on the board of his church, Burnett Fellowship. Through the church, he has been involved with the Mat program that houses and feeds homeless people under the auspices of the Hope for Freedom Society.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “Some of the things we worried about turned out to be not a problem,” said Daykin.
He said the homeless issue has obviously been a challenge for council, and he sees it as having become too divisive.
“The community has become divided over one issue, but Maple Ridge is a very caring and compassionate community,” he said.
“We need to move to more middle ground and consensus.”
Daykin will run on his experience at city hall, and deep roots in the community, where his great grandparents first settled.
“I want this to be as great a community as I think it can be,” he said. “It’s been a great place for me to call home, and to raise my family.”