New Westminster city council has mapped out its priorities for the next four years – and there are few surprises in the plan.
Council has approve the vison, core values, priority areas and key directions for the city’s 2019 to 2022 strategic plan and directed staff to prepare an implementation plan.
“I think this is an important document that really highlights the priority areas for the upcoming term,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote. “I don’t think there is any major surprises in here.”
Cote said the community understands that affordable housing, sustainable transportation and work on social inclusion and reconciliation are important parts of the work the city is doing.
“It is definitely an ambitious plan, but I am looking forward to taking the next steps and really delving into these important issues in our community,” he said.
The city’s seven priority areas are to provide leadership on: affordable housing; the provision of sustainable transportation; climate change at the local level; innovation and sustainable cultural and economic development; reconciliation, social inclusion and civic engagement; and the provision of facilities and sustainable infrastructure that optimize public life, social interaction and place-making (community identity). The seventh priority is to be a progressive employer.
Staff will be preparing an implementation plan this summer and presenting it to council for its review in early fall.
Coun. Patrick Johnstone said council and staff have been working on the strategic plan for six months. He said New Westminster is a “smallish city with very big city dreams” about the services it wants to provide.
“In looking at this document, it’s clear – it’s been clear my four years here – that we are a very activist council. We want to get things done. There are a lot of things we want to get done,” he said. “We want to continue to build on the leadership that we have already achieved in things like housing, addressing inequality, improving livability in the community.”
Johnstone said the development of the strategic plan was an exercise in priorities and an attempt to figure out what the city can reasonably get done in four years. He credited staff for keeping council on track in the creation of the plan.
“I love all my council colleagues equally but sometimes it’s like herding cats because we all have our own ideas about what we want to do,” he said. “It was a bit of a cat-herding exercise to get council all pointed in a direction that was sustainable so I really appreciate the work they did to help us get there.”