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New West athletes medal at Special Olympics Summer Games

Around Town with Theresa McManus
Richard McDonald
Richard McDonald shows off the gold medal he won during the recent 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

Congratulations to local folks who recently competed in the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Vancouver.

Former Woodlands resident Richard McDonald competed in 10-pin bowling with the Coquitlam local of Special Olympics, as there is no New Westminster chapter. He practised his skills at Lucky Strike Lanes in New Westminster.

“It was incredible,” he said of the experience. “The games were just phenomenal.”

Although McDonald didn’t bring home any hardware in the singles or doubles’ competition, he won gold with three teammates in the team 10-pin competition.

McDonald is a longtime community advocate for inclusion and was a member of the task force that recently unveiled new interpretative signs about Woodlands that will find a home on the Victoria Hill site.

New Westminster resident Selena Lepper competed in swimming for the Burnaby chapter, winning a gold and a bronze medal.

Did we miss any local competitors? If you’re a New West resident who competed in the games, drop me a line at so we can mention you in a future Around Town column.

New West councillor excels

Coun. Jonathan Cote is the winner of the first Urban Studies Alumni Award for Community Engagement.

Cote, a three-term city councillor who will be running for mayor in November’s civic election, has been working on his master’s degree in urban studies at Simon Fraser University.

“I’m thrilled to announce that Jonathan Cote is the winner of the first Urban Studies Alumni Award for Community Engagement. He has been exceptionally effective in his role as an elected official, including by using his urban studies coursework research on the economics of rental housing to initiate a groundbreaking rental housing policy for New Westminster, which won an Award of Excellence from the Planning Institute of B.C.,” said Karen Ferguson, director of the graduate program in urban studies at SFU. “Through this progressive policy making and so many other effective engagements on behalf of the residents of New Westminster, Jonathan exemplifies public service. “

Cote recently completed his master’s thesis in the urban studies program and will be defending his thesis this fall.

“It is a great honour to receive the Urban Studies Alumni Award for Community Engagement,” he said in a press release. “The program has inspired me to explore new ways to improve my community and develop a deeper understanding of how cities can tackle some of the challenging social, environment and economic issues that we face. The program has also taught me the importance of engaging the community, something I take to heart in my run to be the next mayor of New Westminster.”

Cadet achievement

A member of the 102 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps (Fraser) of New Westminster is rising through the ranks.

Sea Cadet Shayne Madhavan of Burnaby has been appointed group sergeant major for Delta Training Group, becoming one of six senior cadet appointments at Vernon Army Cadet Summer Training Centre and the first sea cadet to be appointed to this position in Vernon.

Cadet Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Madhaven has earned his position through his training as a sea cadet and his accomplishments, which include taking numerous courses such as general training course, basic sports and fitness and air rifle marksmanship.

At his home corps, C/CPO2 Madhaven is the coxswain, the highest cadet appointment. He is proud to become the first sea cadet to be appointed to a group sergeant major position at VACSTC.

“My goals for the summer are to improve my leadership skills and to create excellence within my training group,” said Madhavan, who just graduated from high school, in a press release.

Each summer, more than 1,200 army, sea and air cadets from Western Canada spend up to six weeks in Vernon, expanding the training they receive at their home corps.

The cadet program is a national program for young Canadians aged 12 to 18.

Registration for sea cadets occurs every Wednesday in September at 6:30 p.m. at Fraser’s facility located at 555 Derwent Way on Annacis Island. For more information, visit