New Westminster mayor willing to work with neighbours

New Westminster’s mayor is trying to be neighbourly with other mayors in the region.

Mayor Jonathan Cote met with Burnaby’s new mayor Mike Hurley over lunch in New West on Nov. 6. Cote thinks the Oct. 20 election results provide a “good opportunity” for the two cities to have a new-and-improved relationship.

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“I actually think there are huge opportunities for New Westminster and Burnaby to work closer together. I am looking forward to establishing that relationship,” he said. “I think New Westminster and Burnaby are dealing with a lot of similar issues. I think in the past, I’ll be upfront, myself and the former mayor didn’t have the closest of relationships and I am hoping there is a new opportunity to work with the new mayor.”

Cote said there’s a lot of returning councillors in Burnaby that New West council members have developed good relationships with through the years.

Cote has also spoken to Doug McCallum, who was elected as Surrey’s new mayor in last month’s civic election. First elected to Surrey city council in 1993, McCallum served Surrey’s mayor from 1996 to 2005.

Soon after being sworn in on Monday, Surrey city council voted to scrap the proposed light rail system in favour of a SkyTrain extension and to replace the RCMP with a municipal police force.

Cote, who chairs the New Westminster Police Board, said he’s more than willing to share New Westminster’s experience of having its own police force with Surrey.

“I’ve already had an opportunity to have a phone conversation with Doug McCallum from Surrey. Although the major focus of our conversation was related to transit, we did briefly talk about the police file,” Cote said. “New Westminster has been very well-served by having our own independent police force and seeing the advantages of that. There are some extra costs involved in having your own police force. From my perspective, as Surrey goes through the process and the decisions are going to have to make, if there is any resources or advice they need from communities that have their own independent forces, I’d be more than willing to share our experience and the work we do by having our own police force.


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