New Westminster inaugurates its new council

New Westminster city council has “a lot of work” to do in the next four years, says Mayor Jonathan Cote.

The City of New Westminster held the inaugural meeting of the new council on Monday night in council chambers. Along with Cote, incumbent councillors Patrick Johnstone, Jaimie McEvoy, Chuck Puchmayr and Mary Trentadue took their oaths of office, as did new councillors Chinu Das and Nadine Nakagawa.

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“Everywhere I go in New Westminster I am struck by what an incredible place that we live in. We are blessed with active and engaged residents and businesses that take pride in our city and rightfully demand that we be our best,” Cote said. “I have to admit, it can be both difficult meeting and managing the expectations in such an environment. It requires hard work and collaborative approach to ensure New Westminster evolves as a livable, dynamic, responsive city.”

Cote said the city has accomplished much in the past four years, including completing the new official community plan, breaking ground on two new affordable housing projects and building the Front Street Mews. He said other initiatives that are underway will continue to take shape, such as library upgrades and riverfront connections.

“There is no doubt that in the coming council term we will be very busy, just as busy as the last,” Cote said. “New Westminster continues to evolve and grow, and we must ensure the infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of our changing community.”

Upcoming efforts include collaborating with neighbouring municipalities and senior levels of government on regional issues like affordable housing and transportation, redeveloping  theCanada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre, implementing economic development and public engagement strategies, developing a new child- and youth-friendly strategy and continuing to work on reconciliation initiatives.

At the inaugural meeting, council appointed Cote as the city’s municipal director to the Metro Vancouver Regional District board and Trentadue as an alternate.

Council also supported the creation of a new task force to address matters related to the local economy and directed staff to report back on its terms of reference.

Council also appointed council members to serve on several city committees and task forces: affordable housing task force – McEvoy and Nakagawa; Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre task force – Johnstone and McEvoy; land use and planning committee (effective Jan. 1, 2019) – Puchmayr and Trentadue; local economy task force – Das and Trentadue; major projects task force – Puchmayr (chair) and Das; riverfront and public realm task force – Johnstone and Nakagawa; and transportation task force – Johnstone and McEvoy. Cote will sit on all of the committees and taskforces.

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