A prominent downtown businessman is hoping to help the city get “back on track” by running for New Westminster city council.
Paul Minhas, who opened the Heritage Grill in 2005 and Begbie’s Pub in 2016, said he’s filed paperwork to run with the New West Progressives and hopes his candidacy will be approved in the coming weeks. He said he’s become increasingly frustrated with the current city council and, instead of posting his frustrations on Facebook or sending out another tweet, has decided to put his name forward for public office.
“Whether it was helping to kickstart the annual Pride Week, the popular Show and Shine or the food truck festival, I’ve always looked at our city as one filled with untapped potential,” he said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Minhas said the city must focus on getting Columbia Street back on its feet, saying “the Golden Mile” must once again serve as the primary centre of the city’s business and commercial activity.
“It will take strong leadership and a city council with vision rather than hope, broken promises and yet another committee trying to make that happen,” he wrote.
Last week, the New West Progressives announced Queensborough resident Ken Armstrong would be the group’s mayoral candidate. Armstrong said the city needs to listen to all community members and get “back to basics” by addressing issues such as potholes, road paving, parks and sports field.
“I’ve had the chance to get to know Ken Armstrong, the NWP candidate for mayor, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with his character and passion for our city. I’m confident Ken will become our next mayor,” Minhas said. “When he does, I’m committed to working with him and the entire NWP team to help ensure city hall gets back to basics.”
Minhas said he considered running as an independent candidate, but concluded the only way to win, when “there is a ‘machine’ operating city hall” is to be part of a group of like-minded citizens who are committed to putting the interests of New Westminster ahead of provincial and federal politics. He said the New West Progressives have the city’s best interests at heart, which is why he wants to be part of their team.
“We need to engage better. We need to make sure our streets are safe for everyone,” he said. “We need to make sure senior levels of government hear loud and clear that our priorities for adequate housing options for our homeless and people suffering with mental illness who are living on our streets are met.”
This year’s municipal election is on Saturday, Oct. 15.