New West Record embraces recycling

The hottest story in New Westminster over the last few months has undoubtedly been the imminent closure of its only city-run recycling centre and the subsequent uproar from the neighbourhoods of Queens Park and Queens Park Lite. Never a stranger to running stories that’ll get the letters flowing, the New West Record has continued to pump the story with articles coming fast and furious. And of course, telling people to “stop with the hyperbole” always works well, right? If that’s not a clever way to get more people riled up, I don’t know what is.

Take this week’s front page article, for example. It’s not online but the title is “Depot closing date pushed into March”. An entire front page article about a simple date change! Clearly The Record is taking recycling seriously.

And there’s more proof of how much they’re getting into recycling with their story reporting on New West’s school board voting record in 2019, which is an obvious recycling of a blog post written by New West councillor Patrick Johnstone just a month earlier!

Congratulations to the New West Record for being a community leader in recycling! ♻️

New West Progressives call for ten-lane recycling centre

The New Westminster Progressives have committed to pursuing a competitive 10-lane recycling centre to replace the ageing, but iconic, New Westminster Recycling Depot, which has served the community for the past 25 years. The new recycling centre would be capable of hosting Provincial and National-level meets, while providing the residents with a usable public recycling component.

The current city council has developed a plan to require New Westminster residents drive to Coquitlam to do their recycling.

NW Progressives city council candidate Paul McNamara has a long-term vision that would see the state-of-the-art recycling centre built and would make New Westminster the go-to city for competitive recycling, which would bring a much-needed economic boost to local businesses.

“The City of New Westminster must actively pursue available provincial and federal funding opportunities such as the federal EcoAction Community Funding Program,” says McNamara. “These larger Provincial and National-level meets have an economic input of between $1-million and $7-million, depending on the size of the event.

“I have met so many long term New West residents who remember the opening of the mid-90s Recycling Depot and the impact it had on the city. It put New West on the map as the place to be.”

Currently, the 4,000 plus competitive recyclers in the Lower Mainland area have to travel to Vancouver Island or Kamloops to compete in Provincial or National events.

“New Westminster can turn this opportunity into a recycling-tourism advantage that will benefit everyone,” says McNamara. “This would be the start of a recycling infrastructure revitalization this city hasn’t seen since 1995.”

On 616 & 640 Sixth Street, New Westminster

616 & 640 Sixth Street in New Westminster are two buildings next to each other that are looking to get rezoned. The developer wants to replace the two two-storey commercial buildings with a building that will have over 12,000 square feet of street level commercial, 142 market strata residential units, and 95 secured market rental residential units. It will also have a 1700 square foot public plaza at the corner of Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue.

The building will be located along the Crosstown Greenway, which runs along Seventh Avenue. It’s also situated directly on the Frequent Transit Network (106 between New West and Edmonds), is two blocks from a second bus route on the FTN (123 between New West and Brentwood), and is a block from four other bus routes, all of which connect to seven SkyTrain stations. It’s located in New Westminster’s Uptown neighbourhood, which is an incredibly walkable location that includes grocery stores, doctors, dollar stores, restaurants, dentists, local and small businesses, and a wide range of other shops and services.

In short, it’s a perfect location for more homes for more neighbours.

But unfortunately one of the business owners who would be displaced (but would receive reduced rent, financial assistance for relocation costs, and relocation assistance through the developer’s network of commercial brokers) has started an anti-housing pro-“build nothing” group that likes to say NO to everything on Facebook, and he’s trying to rally his troops to go to the public hearing on June 24 to say NO to more homes for more neighbours. One of the things they’ve latched onto is the separate entrances for the rental and strata units in the proposed building, and they’re going to use this (and probably the typical arguments about traffic or views or noise) to try to convince Council to put a halt to this development.

My views? Here’s the letter I’m sending to Council outlining my views.

Dear Mayor and Council,

My name is Brad Cavanagh, and I am a resident of New Westminster. I am writing to you in support of Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 7997, 2019 regarding 616 and 640 Sixth Street.

New Westminster, like the rest of Metro Vancouver, is in a housing crisis. The recent minor dip in housing prices has in no way alleviated this. Housing prices are still unaffordable for everybody but the rich. Rental vacancy rates are at historic lows. Rental housing is largely unstable and a source of concern and stress for a huge number of our neighbours. We need to build more secure rental housing, and the proposed development at 616 and 640 Sixth Street will help deliver this.

With 95 secured market rental units, 41 of which are 2-bedrooms and larger, this development will provide stable housing for more families and, more importantly, help reduce some of the competition for similar, older units in our city. 142 market strata units will invite 142 more families to our neighbourhoods and city, where they can enrich our urban landscape. How many of the 237 families will open new shops in our city? How many will open new restaurants? How many will bring new cultures and new experiences? How many will volunteer in our festivals, or start new non-profits? Our city is enriched with each new person and family who moves here, and this development will continue that enrichment.

The proposed development is in the Uptown neighbourhood, one of New Westminster’s most vibrant and walkable. It boasts restaurants, small and local businesses, doctors, grocery stores, dentists, and a wide range of other shops and services. The location is directly on the Frequent Transit Network linking residents to two SkyTrain stations, and with five other bus routes within two blocks, residents can get to any one of seven different SkyTrain stations. It is also located on the Crosstown Greenway, which allows for easy bicycle access to four elementary schools and one middle school. There will also be four car share parking spots for families in the neighbourhood who decide to go car-free or car-light. Transportation is not a problem with this proposal.

The only sticking point with this proposed development is the separate entrances for strata and rental units. It must be noted that in the proposed development there are essentially two buildings within the same envelope. If the proposal had two separate buildings, there would be nearly no controversy over the separate entrances, and this was exactly the case for the development at 813 Carnarvon Street, where two buildings were built for different residential tenures with separate entrances, yet there was little discussion about this, if any.

Now is not the time to stop sorely needed housing to address this issue. City Staff has already begun researching the topic of separation of common areas between different residential tenures, and I would ask that City Council make this formal and ask City Staff to continue to research the topic with the intention of writing clear policy in this area for future developments. Staff should continue to look to Vancouver and neighbouring cities, along with others across British Columbia and Canada, and learn from their experiences to develop a policy that treats all residents respectfully and fairly, regardless of how they live.

I ask that you approve Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 7997 and also direct City Staff to continue to develop policy surrounding separate entrances, amenities, and common areas for different residential tenures in future developments.

Brad Cavanagh.

If you would like to write a letter about this proposed rezoning, you can do so by emailing Make sure to mention Zoning Bylaw Amendment No. 7997! And please do read the material as well, there’s a lot of interesting information in there that I didn’t even touch upon, like how the commercial spaces are going to be flexible and resizable, or how electric vehicle charging infrastructure will be built for every residential parking spot, or how there will be a total of 316 bicycle parking spots!

On SD40 and their Child Care Space funding request

Recently New Westminster’s school district (SD40) took a look at asking the provincial government for funding to supply some child care spaces at their schools. This is great! Child care is lacking in New Westminster and we need more.

What isn’t great is that the school district plans to ask for funding for 136 spaces for children that aren’t attending New Westminster schools. I don’t think that this is acceptable, so I wrote a letter to the New West Board of Education to ask them to fund school age child care spaces. Here’s the letter!

Dear SD40 Board of Education,

My name is Brad Cavanagh, I am a New Westminster resident and parent of a child at Qayqayt Elementary. I am writing to you regarding the proposed request for provincial funding for addition of child care spaces at four New Westminster schools. The proposed plan would request funding for 136 spaces for infants, toddlers, and children from ages of 3 to 5.

In my opinion, this plan is inadequate and contrary to what the school district should be requesting.

There is a need for child care spaces for children of all ages in New Westminster; this is not in question. However, infant, toddler, and preschool age child care spaces are relatively easier to open by third parties than school age spaces are. Logistics alone make school age child care spaces difficult, as getting children to and from school is challenging. Finding employees who can work split shifts across eleven hours of the day can be difficult. Leasing a space that remains empty for nearly seven hours a day is expensive, or requires complicated sharing arrangements. This all leads to a lack of child care spaces for school aged children. Having funding provided by the provincial government for child care spaces at schools these spaces will help with some of these logistical difficulties.

Further, the role of the school district is to provide education and services for school age children. The school district already provides services for this age group, and providing before and after school spaces for this age group slots in well with those services and aligns with the school district’s purpose.

The report states that the District recognizes the importance of child care on site at its schools to support families, enrolment and welcoming future students to school communities. Shouldn’t the District’s current students be a priority?

Anecdotally, I recently asked my daughter’s before and after school care provider (Westminster Children’s After School Society at Qayqayt Elementary) if they had any open spaces, as a friend’s before and after school care provider will be closing in May. They told me that not only do they not have any openings, they have a waitlist of nearly 180 children. Their other centres have huge waitlists as well; this is not a number that’s out of the ordinary for this school age child care provider.

I urge you to consider modifying the request for child care funding to drastically increase the number of school age child care spaces, as it aligns with the school district’s purpose and better serves children that currently attend New Westminster’s schools.

Brad Cavanagh.

How Did New Westminster’s Neighbourhoods Vote? Part 2: Individual Polling Stations

In my last post I looked at how the different candidates (and teams) gained and lost votes from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. In this post I’m going to look at who won each polling station (but only those used on election day, I’m not looking at advance voting). This is different from the previous look because Team Cote won the overall election by a wide margin (the difference between Chuck Puchmayr in 6th and Daniel Fontaine in 7th was 1300 votes), so even if the New West Progressives did manage to swing a polling station by 50 votes, it may not have made much of a difference in that polling station’s end numbers.

And that’s pretty much the case. For council, Team Cote swept thirteen out of the sixteen polling stations. At Herbert Spencer Daniel Fontaine beat out Chuck Puchmayr by 12 votes (396 to 384) to take sixth place. Fontaine won F.W. Howay, and Ellen Vaillancourt tied with Jaimie McEvoy for the sixth position with 141 votes. Queen Elizabeth saw all four New West Progressive council candidates in the top six, with Nadine Nakagawa in fourth and Chuck Puchmayr in sixth.

If we put this another way, Nadine Nakagawa was in the top six at every polling station. Patrick Johnstone, Mary Trentadue, Chinu Das, and Jaimie McEvoy were in the top six at fifteen out of sixteen, Chuck Puchmayr was in the top six at fourteen out of sixteen, Daniel Fontaine was in the top six at three out of sixteen, Ellen Vaillancourt was in the top six at two out of sixteen, and Paul McNamara and Bryn Ward were in the top six at one polling station.

The school trustee election was a little more wide open, which isn’t surprising as neither team fielded an entire slate of candidates. Of the candidates that did not get elected, Alejandro Diaz was in the top seven at five out of sixteen polling stations (his top result was at Herbert Spencer, tying for second with Dee Beattie with 406 votes), Cyrus Sy at four (fifth at F.W. Howay and Queen Elizabeth), Lisa Falbo at three (third at Queen Elizabeth), and Lisa Graham at two (third at F.W. Howay).

Of those who were elected, Anita Ansari, Dee Beattie, and Danielle Connelly were in the top seven at every polling station. Gurveen Dhaliwal, and Mark Gifford made it to the top seven at fourteen of sixteen, Maya Russell at thirteen, and Mary Lalji at nine.

If I were to provide analysis on this, I would say that New West city council has a city-wide mandate for their platform, excepting Queensborough. Even though they did worse than their city-wide average in other neighbourhoods such as Massey Victory Heights (which is where F.W. Howay pulls its voters from) they still have enough support that they would have easily had a strong majority on council from votes in those neighbourhoods.

The school board is a little murkier, but still shows a strong support for Team Cote’s candidates. Danielle Connelly, despite ending up sixth in the overall count, shows support from every neighbourhood in the city. This is in sharp contrast to her fellow New West Progressive candidates who showed varying and spiky support from a handful of neighbourhoods. My belief is that this is because Danielle Connelly is a strong candidate who has strong support in the community because of her involvement in the wider community for some time.

Here’s a question to chew on: Was Danielle Connelly helped or hindered by running with the New West Progressives?

Of the independent school trustee candidates, I was surprised at how well Alejandro Diaz did. I was not at all expecting him to place second at a polling station, even the one that’s essentially his “home” station (he lives in the Queens Park neighbourhood, and Herbert Spencer is usually seen as “Queens Park’s polling station”), and finishing in the top seven at five of the polling stations is a strong showing for a new independent candidate. I’m not surprised that Lisa Graham did well at F.W. Howay, as that’s her “home” station and she has some name recognition from her previous time on the school board.

Here are the top results from each of the polling stations:

Century House
585 Chuck Puchmayr
579 Nadine Nakagawa
575 Jaimie McEvoy
553 Patrick Johnstone
552 Mary Trentadue
489 Chinu Das

535 Mark Gifford
508 Anita Ansari
482 Dee Beattie
443 Danielle Connelly
437 Maya Russell
427 Gurveen Dhaliwal
362 Lisa Falbo
Connaught Heights
292 Nadine Nakagawa
279 Patrick Johnstone
278 Chinu Das
277 Chuck Puchmayr
274 Mary Trentadue
248 Jaimie McEvoy

293 Anita Ansari
272 Gurveen Dhaliwal
263 Mark Gifford
240 Dee Beattie
222 Maya Russell
214 Danielle Connelly
209 Mary Lalji
Fraser River Middle School
392 Nadine Nakagawa
335 Patrick Johnstone
333 Jaimie McEvoy
325 Chinu Das
324 Mary Trentadue
292 Chuck Puchmayr

312 Anita Ansari
295 Dee Beattie
286 Mark Gifford
284 Gurveen Dhaliwal
274 Maya Russell
188 Danielle Connelly
187 Alejandro Diaz
F.W. Howay
169 Daniel Fontaine
164 Mary Trentadue
157 Patrick Johnstone
147 Chinu Das
146 Nadine Nakagawa
141 (tie) Jaimie McEvoy
141 (tie) Ellen Vaillancourt

173 Mary Lalji
169 Danielle Connelly
164 Lisa Graham
159 Dee Beattie
142 Cyrus Sy
138 Anita Ansari
135 Lisa Falbo
Glenbrook Middle School
331 Nadine Nakagawa
324 Patrick Johnstone
318 Chuck Puchmayr
311 Mary Trentadue
296 (tie) Chinu Das
296 (tie) Jaimie McEvoy

322 Dee Beattie
295 Anita Ansari
283 (tie) Gurveen Dhaliwal
283 (tie) Mark Gifford
265 Maya Russell
259 Danielle Connelly
243 Mary Lalji
Glenbrook Park Amenities Centre
368 Nadine Nakagawa
365 Patrick Johnstone
356 Jaimie McEvoy
347 Mary Trentadue
336 Chuck Puchmayr
312 Chinu Das

363 Dee Beattie
322 Anita Ansari
310 Mark Gifford
275 Gurveen Dhaliwal
274 Maya Russell
232 Danielle Connelly
228 Cyrus Sy
Herbert Spencer
486 Mary Trentadue
484 Patrick Johnstone
468 Nadine Nakagawa
420 Jaimie McEvoy
417 Chinu Das
396 Daniel Fontaine

423 Mary Lalji
406 (tie) Dee Beattie
406 (tie) Alejandro Diaz
405 Gurveen Dhaliwal
397 Mark Gifford
385 Danielle Connelly
372 Anita Ansari
Lord Kelvin
279 Nadine Nakagawa
263 Mary Trentadue
249 Chinu Das
235 Patrick Johnstone
232 Chuck Puchmayr
213 Jaimie McEvoy

240 Anita Ansari
224 Mark Gifford
216 Dee Beattie
205 Gurveen Dhaliwal
199 Maya Russell
159 Danielle Connelly
158 Mary Lalji
279 Nadine Nakagawa
273 Chinu Das
260 Mary Trentadue
259 (tie) Patrick Johnstone
259 (tie) Jaimie McEvoy
224 Chuck Puchmayr

271 Anita Ansari
246 Dee Beattie
227 Gurveen Dhaliwal
221 Maya Russell
215 Mark Gifford
159 Danielle Connelly
153 Alejandro Diaz
Queen Elizabeth
658 Daniel Fontaine
622 Paul McNamara
585 Bryn Ward
581 Nadine Nakagawa
567 Ellen Vaillancourt
509 Chuck Puchmayr

668 Gurveen Dhaliwal
615 Danielle Connelly
605 Lisa Falbo
599 Anita Ansari
555 Cyrus Sy
469 Mary Lalji
458 Dee Beattie
Richard McBride
359 Patrick Johnstone
340 Nadine Nakagawa
335 Mary Trentadue
305 Chinu Das
288 Jaimie McEvoy
259 Chuck Puchmayr

291 Anita Ansari
290 Danielle Connelly
288 Maya Russell
282 Dee Beattie
277 Mary Lalji
272 Mark Gifford
248 Cyrus Sy
Riverbend Housing Co-op
510 Nadine Nakagawa
481 Patrick Johnstone
466 Mary Trentadue
465 Jaimie McEvoy
443 Chinu Das
440 Chuck Puchmayr

437 Anita Ansari
389 Dee Beattie
384 Mark Gifford
370 Gurveen Dhaliwal
354 Maya Russell
294 Danielle Connelly
255 Alejandro Diaz
Royal Westminster Armoury
476 Nadine Nakagawa
422 Mary Trentadue
419 Patrick Johnstone
418 Jaimie McEvoy
376 Chuck Puchmayr
365 Chinu Das

362 Anita Ansari
359 Dee Beattie
351 Mark Gifford
327 Danielle Connelly
323 Gurveen Dhaliwal
304 Maya Russell
300 Alejandro Diaz
St. Aidan’s
325 Nadine Nakagawa
298 Patrick Johnstone
294 Mary Trentadue
275 Chinu Das
272 Chuck Puchmayr
249 Jaimie McEvoy

285 Anita Ansari
268 Gurveen Dhaliwal
250 Mark Gifford
236 Dee Beattie
230 Mary Lalji
220 Maya Russell
217 Danielle Connelly
St. Barnabas
310 Nadine Nakagawa
273 Jaimie McEvoy
261 Mary Trentadue
248 Chuck Puchmayr
239 Patrick Johnstone
234 Chinu Das

251 Anita Ansari
249 Dee Beattie
232 Mark Gifford
228 Maya Russell
213 Gurveen Dhaliwal
191 Danielle Connelly
170 Lisa Graham
Sapperton Pensioners Hall
438 Nadine Nakagawa
420 Patrick Johnstone
399 Mary Trentadue
390 Chinu Das
375 Jaimie McEvoy
349 Chuck Puchmayr

442 Dee Beattie
413 Anita Ansari
335 Maya Russell
326 Gurveen Dhaliwal
325 Danielle Connelly
312 Mark Gifford
252 Mary Lalji