Candidates vying for seats on New Westminster city council and school board are in the home stretch.
Door knocking, phone calls and sign waving are ways local candidates are reaching out to voters in the dying days of the campaign. When New West voters go to the polls on Saturday, Oct. 20, they’ll have a chance to elect a mayor, six councillors and seven school trustees.
On the council front, issues like affordable housing, transportation, density and infrastructure/amenities have been raised as issues on the campaign trail.
In addition to incumbent mayor Jonathan Cote of Team Cote, three independents are running for mayor: Jimmie Bell; Nikki Binns; and Harm Woldring.
The 14 candidates vying for spots on city council includes four incumbents, all of who are part of Team Cote: Patrick Johnstone; Jaimie McEvoy; Chuck Puchmayr; and Mary Trentadue. Other members of Team Cote – all of whom have been endorsed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council – are Chinu Das and Nadine Nakagawa, who hope to fill spaces being vacated by retiring councillors Bill Harper and Lorrie Williams.
In response to concerns that all members of the 2014 to 2018 city council were endorsed by the New Westminster and District Labour Council, a new elector’s slate called the New West Progressives formed, with part of its goal to bring a different perspective to city council. The NWP has four candidates on the councillor ballot: Daniel Fontaine; Paul McNamara; Ellen Vaillancourt; and Bryn Ward.
Four independent candidates round out the contenders for New Westminster city council: Troy Hunter; Mike Ireland; Benny Ogden; and Angela Sealy.
Five incumbent school trustees – Jonina Campbell, Casey Cook, Michael Ewen, James Janzen and Kelly Slade-Kerr – are stepping down from the board of education. Only incumbents Mark Gifford (Team Cote) and independent Mary Lalji are seeking re-election.
All totalled, 16 candidates are hoping to be elected school trustees in New Westminster, where hot-topic issues have included the increasing number of portables at local schools (particularly in Queensborough), classroom space and communication with stakeholders.
Danielle Connelly; Lisa Falbo, J.P. Leberg and Cyrus Sy are all running under the New Westminster Progressives banner, while Anita Ansari, Dee Beattie, Gurveen Dhaliwal and Maya Russell will join Gifford on the Team Cote slate.
In addition to Lalji, six independent candidates are also vying for your vote: Alejandro Diaz; Lisa Graham; Cathy McCallum; Scott McIntosh, Steve Tsonev and Douglas Woodward.
With five incumbent trustees and two incumbent councillors opting not to run in the 2018 civic election, we know there will be some change in the local elected bodies, but whether the New Westminster and District Labour Council endorsed candidates running as Team Cote continue to be a stronghold or the New West Progressives and/or independents make inroads remains to be seen.