Anchored Here: Mike Clay
#AnchoredHere started to show you the inspiring neighbours and interesting Port Moody personalities we are lucky to surround ourselves with. We’ve been sitting down with inspiring Port Moody people to hear their stories of why they’re anchored here, and who better to start off with than Mr. Port Moody himself - the Mayor of our beautiful City, Mike Clay.
We met Mike on a sunny Wednesday at Yellow Dog Brewery. It felt very Port Moody to sit down with the Mayor over beers to chat about the past, present, and future of our City. Having lived in Port Moody all his life, Mike shared his memories of this old logging town and how he's seen this City continue to change over the years. Now, Port Moody's population of 33,500 is expected to increase by around 15,000 residents if plans to develop old industrial sites are approved. Mike covered all the hot topics with us, and it was evident that his time as Mayor is served with a lot of love for this City and all its potential.
Mike Clay is a third generation Port Moody resident thanks to his grandparents who moved onto Clarke Street in 1932. He’s best known as the Mayor of Port Moody, having been elected in 2011 after serving on City Council for six years. As a Port Moody Secondary grad, you can still find him riding his electric bicycle around his ‘hood, commuting to City Hall or visiting the local breweries.
We asked Mike our five anchoring questions, and these are his responses.
1. How do you contribute to the social development of Port Moody?
"It's the long game for me. It's going all the way back to being born here, growing up here, and graduating here. I've seen the City go through so many different phases. I've seen it speed up, slow down, change, and not change. And I think that we need to continue to embrace this change and know that things are going to change, so lets make sure to keep it positive.
Port Moody used to have three strip clubs and two bingo halls, and we don't build those anymore because it's not what the demographic wants. So, our social responsibility is staying in tune with what people want and moving the city forward. If we feel like we're not getting it, we don't just get mad at the City and say 'you don't get it,' we figure out how we make it so we can all come along on this journey - Collectively figuring out where we want to go as a city."
2. What values should we stand for as a community?
"As a community, we want to support each other, we want to stick to each other, we want to make sure we are engaged, supported, accepted - all those things. We want to prop up people when they're feeling down. We want to celebrate people when they're doing well. As a community, it's important to support your community.
We can start by trying to support each other and build from there because that's what makes a strong community. Otherwise, we could just be 35,000 individuals living in this city."
3. Describe the most authentic moment you’ve witnessed during your time here.
"In this city, authenticity is everything. My grandma’s house was on St. George Street, and if anything anomalous would happen, like her garbage wasn't put out, or whatever, they … the city workers, the garbage collectors, would actually knock on the door to check to see if she was okay. These are small-town stories, and you flip that around to “we're losing our small town charm because we’re growing higher density”, that's nothing to do with small town charm. Small town charm is the way that people treat each other and we have countless examples of that."
4. What kind of legacy do you intend on leaving behind?
"I want to be a part of the community that makes sure that this city keeps moving in a positive direction. I had a slogan in my campaign a couple of elections ago, which was “planning for the future with respect to the past.” We've got a great history here, and we should remember it, celebrate it, and immortalize it. We should also remember that it's not 1926, and we don't have smoke stacks, refineries, or cedar mills anymore. Let's not forget that, but let's not pull it out of proportion either. We are part of Metro Vancouver, we are a region of 2.6 million people and growing, things are changing here at a rapid rate."
5. What ultimately anchors you here?
"Everything. Because everything in this city becomes about the cumulative... it's the mountains, water, parks, trails, and the people. It's Newport Village, Klahanie, Suterbrook. It's the radiator shop, the tire guy, the Burrard pub, and it's the dog park. You add up all those things (and more) and it’s all what anchors me."
We hope you'll get anchored, too.