Tell us a bit about yourself:
I was born in the city of Obuasi, Ghana. My family and I immigrated to Canada in 1994, and settled in New Westminster ever since.
I am a local business owner and I’m very active with various youth sports teams.
I have watched this city become what it is today; and would like the opportunity to continue to help with the development of this city; specifically the improvement of infrastructure, affordable housing and bringing communities together. I love this city and community and would be honoured to serve as city councillor. With your vote, this is possible.
Why are you running for city council?
My goal is to help clean the city, make it a safer place for all as well as bring diversity to city hall so that we can help people of different backgrounds
Some others include:
* Creating more jobs
* Affordable housing
* Infrastructure – fixing some existing streets and bike lane on Seventh Street
* More community events – festivals such as: bringing back the May Day festival and food truck festival
* Revisit the Royal City name removal
What do you consider to be the Top 3 issues facing New Westminster at this time?
At the current moment, here are some issues I believe needs to be tackled:
1. Safety. The safety of this city needs to be a priority especially around Westminster station and Columbia station, the crimes have escalated in these areas.
2. Housing/Jobs. There has been a rise of homelessness has been growing in the city due to the lack of affordable housing and cost of living.
3. Crosswalks. It is imperative to have proper crosswalks to keep our children and community save.
What is the biggest success and/or failure of the current city council?
The current city council has made various improvements to this community in the past few years and they have done a great job with development of the community especially with the building of the two new schools, one of the being a fresh school as well as the community centre and the key to the city. This is been a great but I believe that there was still improvements that need to be made especially with diversity. There need to be more diversity in city council.
Do you support the city council’s decision to have the City of New Westminster stop using the Royal City moniker and crown logo as part of its official branding? Why or why not?
I can’t say I do or don’t at this moment. Although I understand that it is part of the history, I also understand the outrage and concerns. If elected, I will work with the city and members of the community to discuss everyone’s concerns.
What is your housing situation? Homeowner, renter, other? Landlord?
I am a homeowner, and have been for the past 14 years. Before I became a homeowner, I rented.
New Westminster’s population is currently 82,590 and is projected to grow to about 100,000 by 2031. How – and where – do you want the city to accommodate that growth?
By building more towers on Columbia Street and reconstruct the city. The fire that happened few years ago, destroyed many homes and businesses, that area has not been re-developed. I will focus on redeveloping this area, which will help bring in new business, creating more jobs and also housing. Building New west will always remain a goal of mine, we want our locals to stay local, by building more affordable housing and creating jobs here, people do have to commute far.
Some organizations are calling on municipal governments to support the creation of non-profit housing by allowing projects to be built without fulfilling rezoning requirements. (As an example, Women Transforming Cities wants social housing initiatives of up to 12 storeys to be permitted in multi-family area and up to six storeys in other residential areas, without a rezoning requirement). Is this something you would support?
Although I am in support of building affordable housing, I also strongly believe that rezoning requirements is necessary. We will work with the city to make exceptions on timelines for certain types of housing organizations.
The New Westminster Police Department’s budget has been a contentious issue in recent years, with some council members supporting cuts (to the requested budget increase) to the NWPD’s budget. (Budgets put forward by the police board were ultimately approved by council.) If elected, would you support cuts to the New Westminster Police Department’s budget in the city’s next budget?
I do not support the cut to the police budget. We need the police in our community especially with the safety concerns that have been arise recently in our city. It’s important to me to keep the city of New West safe, our community safe. The police budget is used for many good things that benefit our community, so to cut the budget will affect our community and city.
City council has developed and used the Seven Bold Steps for Climate Action (and its strategic plan) as the basis for making all decisions. Has the city done enough to address the climate crisis? Too much?
You have 24 hours and your calendar is open. What would be your ideal day in the New West?
My ideal day in New West will look something like this: I’m an early raiser, so I will take a stroll through the Quay, then breakfast at Angelina’s breakfast place, a walk to Queen’s Park with my kids. Since I’m an active person, I would then go to the New Westminster Mercy Stadium for a workout/run. I enjoy socializing with locals and interacting with the business owners, so I would spend some time just interacting with different people, enjoy lunch at one of the many wonderful restaurants in this city, pick up my children from school/daycare, have dinner at Stefano’s, spend time with my family and will end the night grabbing a drink at Judge Bebie’s with some friends and locals.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell voters?
I am not a politician. I’m a regular citizen who loves this city. Because of how much this city means to me, I want to be the voice for those who are not being heard. I’m running as an independent because I believe that there should be at least one voice in city council that is there for the people, for the voiceless. Everyone deserves to feel represented and valued, and that is why I’m running to be your city councillor.
How can folks contact you?
I can be reached on my websitedanielkofiampong.ca; Instagram and Facebook @DanielKofiAmpong