Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read won't seek re-election next year
She wants to advocate for students who are both gifted and have learning disabilities - like her own
At least one of Metro Vancouver's 21 mayors won't be seeking re-election next year.
Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read has decided not to run again, telling CBC News she wants to move on to a new chapter in her life.
Read said she wants to spend more time advocating for her two young sons who have been diagnosed as being twice-exceptional — meaning they are both gifted and have learning disabilities.
"I'm having some significant challenges ... with our children in the school system," Read said.
'Difficult to hold this role'
"We're in the same category as many parents who've spoken out in recent weeks about the system failing these children who have particular learning needs."
Read said her children were diagnosed after she became mayor in 2014.
She believes there's only so much she can do to advocate for them and students like them while leading Maple Ridge, a city of over 80,000 people.
"I honour and respect the relationships that I have with my school district, but … it's difficult to hold this role and fight for the needs of my children every day," she said.
Tenure marked by homeless debates
Since Read became mayor, Maple Ridge's political discussions have been dominated by the city's growing homeless population and disagreements on how best to deal with it.
Read supported a homeless shelter where people are housed even if they continue using drugs, and had pushed for the province to invest more in social housing.
Maple Ridge's homeless citizens were attacked by some residents, and Read herself went on leave after threats and repeated online harassment.
- Maple Ridge: B.C. town divided by homeless crisis
- Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read returns to work after threats
She says her advocacy for the city's homeless population will help inform the next chapter of her life.
"I know that dealing with homelessness in my community, how important it is to get upstream and put the money where we're going to be supporting kids to block the pathways from entering in this sort of lifestyle," she said.
"It's something important for me, I want to give back to my community in a powerful way."
Read says she recently made the decision not to run again. Her announcement comes exactly one year before the 2018 municipal elections across B.C.
And while she'll end her tenure as mayor after only one term, she's proud of what she's accomplished.
"This has been an exceptional experience. It's been wonderful to work with the people of my community."