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Together New West gets a new name – Forward New West

Electors group gets a new name after conflicts with biz group
The Downtown New West BIA's #TogetherNewWest mural was created on Columbia Street in the spring of 2020. A civic electors group of the same name was formed but has since changed its name.

The electors group formerly known as Together New West is moving forward with a new name.

Elections BC has confirmed that Together New Westminster registered with its office in December 2021, but subsequently updated its name to Forward New West on Dec. 23, 2021.

Gurveen Dhaliwal, who is currently chair of the New Westminster School Board, is listed as the group’s authorized principal official, while Coun. Patrick Johnstone is listed as its financial agent.

“It’s a placeholder for now, and we will let you know if there are any updates,” Dhaliwal said in email to the Record, in response to questions about the new name.

On Dec. 5, the Together New West Elector’s Society held its inaugural annual general meeting. While the group’s commitments included creating affordable housing, engaging in reconciliation and decolonization, addressing the climate emergency and supporting a strong public education system, it stated it would develop a full platform in 2022 before the Oct. 15 civic election.

Dhaliwal and Mayor Jonathan Cote were quoted in the press release that was sent out to announce the formation of Together New West.

Immediately, the Downtown New West BIA voiced concerns about the group’s name, having launched a #togethernewwest campaign in the spring of 2020 in an attempt to inspire the community during the pandemic. 

Despite the BIA’s concerns, Together New West initially stated it would be keeping its name. Soon after, Cote issued a statement apologizing to the BIA and expressing disappointment that the party executive had decided not to work with the BIA to fully address the legitimate concerns they’d raised.

Ultimately, the group decided it would not be running candidates under the Together New West name.

“The Together New West Electors Society will not be endorsing or supporting an elector organization called Together New West in 2022,” said a Dec. 21 email to the Record from the society’s directors. “The directors are currently communicating with the members and are establishing next steps. Recognizing the season, we are unlikely to have more to report until the new year.”

On Jan. 1, Cote announced he would not be seeking re-election in this year’s civic election.

The Record has reached out to Forward New West for more information. More to come.

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