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.”

Local family “totally fine” with light sentence for son’s killer

The driver responsible for the 2017 crash that killed cyclist Kerry Hawkins and left three other people seriously injured has been handed a $1,750 fine.

A provincial court judge also sentenced Emerson Sutton to a one-year driving ban for the devastating collision, which happened on Vancouver’s SW Marine Drive.

Before sentencing, Hawkins’ friends and family addressed Sutton in court, where they delivered emotional victim impact statements describing the depth of Sutton’s loss.

Elaine Hawkins, Kerry Hawkins’ wife, learned she was pregnant three weeks before the crash.

“We beg the court to go lightly on Mr. Sutton,” Mrs. Hawkins said. “He says he fell asleep after a night of partying, and crashed into my husband without knowing better. Banning him from driving for twelve long months more than makes up for losing the love of my life forever.”

“Our daughter will never know her father, but Mr. Sutton shouldn’t have his freedom to move around taken away from him. That would be unthinkable.”

Hawkins’ mother, Jaqueline McFadden, held a photo of her son as she read her statement.

“It has been 12 months of indescribable anguish for our family. Every time I look at my granddaughter I see my son and my heart breaks knowing that Mr. Sutton could have to pay as much as $2,000 for killing him. He has suffered enough, he even threw up when he heard my son was killed at his hand.”

The Crown had asked for the maximum sentence of a $2,000 fine and six months in jail.

“We are totally fine with this sentence,” said Hawkins’ father, Bobby. “Our son was ripped out of our lives, and for all that pain and suffering Emerson has caused us, not being able to drive for one year is more than enough punishment for him. And then to have to pay $1,750 on top of that? That’s like buying a new laptop, how can you possibly imagine how much he’ll suffer because he’ll have to use an old computer? That’s nowhere near as bad as having your son killed.”

“And thank god he used a car to kill Kerry. Imagine if he’d accidentally shot him with a gun? That would have been terrible, he should be thrown in jail for a long long time if that happened. But killing him with a car? Eh, whatever.”

Richard McBride Elementary School to be replaced

BC’s Ministry of Education announced today that New Westminster’s Richard McBride Elementary School will be replaced with construction starting in 2018.

“We have known for a long time that Richard McBride Elementary has been seismically unsafe, and we are glad to announce its replacement,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming in a press release. “As an H1-ranked school, McBride has been a priority for years and although the previous government chose not to act to keep our children safe, we are glad to put the focus on learning in a safe environment.”

The school will be replaced with 26 earthquake-safe portables that will arrive in time for September 2019.

“By using portables we can quickly adapt to changing enrollment numbers, making education in New Westminster cost-effective yet safe for our children,” Fleming said.

McBride Parent Advisory Committee co-chair Janet Arbeau has been raising the issue of the safety of the school for a number of years, and said she gets a lot of questions from parents about the fate of the school.

“Especially some of the new parents. They’ve just enrolled their kids in kindergarten or what have you and they’re very excited, and they recognized McBride is an old school, and then they maybe do a little bit of googling, and the next thing you know, they find out the status of McBride is an H1-rated school, so then they ask the PAC what’s going on.”

She met with New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy to share her concerns and said she was “satisfied” with the discussions.

“My son Chard has been attending McBride since kindergarten and is now in Grade Four. Every year we have been told that McBride is unsafe, that it’s rated H1, and either upgrading it or replacing it has been a priority. I’m glad that we are finally seeing progress. I’m sad that Chard won’t be seeing a safe McBride Elementary, but I’m very glad that other kids will be getting the safe education they deserve.”

Fleming said some of the delays stemmed from the previous Liberal government.

“We are sorry that we could not act quicker than the 2019 school year, but unfortunately due to years of underfunding by the Liberal government, demand for portables is at an all-time high. The portables McBride will be replaced with are currently in use in Surrey, and moving them to New Westminster and other cities around the province will help us meet our promise to do away with all of the portables in Surrey within four years.”

“We didn’t say anything about portables in other cities,” he added.

Trudeau announces new Kinder Morgan route, Broadway SkyTrain

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Kinder Morgan is applying for a re-route of their TransMountain pipeline that currently runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. He also announced conditional federal funding for an expanded SkyTrain line to be run in a tunnel under Broadway in Vancouver.

“We have heard criticisms over the past few days since announcing the approval of the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline, specificially concerning the increase in oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet and tunnelling through Burnaby Mountain. We remain committed to acting in the best interests of Canada, and remain committed to rigorous environmental protections for our lands and waters.

“We have also received applications for federal funding to expand Vancouver’s SkyTrain system to service the Broadway corridor. This region of Vancouver is an important one, not just for the City of Vancouver, but for all of Metro Vancouver. It is an important commercial district, it is an important healthcare district, and students and employees of the largest university in Western Canada travel it every day. Congestion along this corridor causes pollution and reduces the quality of life of everybody who travels it. Easing this congestion with proven SkyTrain technology will help everybody.

“These reasons are why I’m announcing conditional federal funding of a bored tunnel under Broadway that will contain both SkyTrain and the re-routed Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline.”

The SkyTrain will run from Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain Station to Alma Street, where it will terminate at a bus loop. The TransMountain pipeline will be tunnelled under Highway One to Broadway, under Broadway to Alma, then curve north to a new marine delivery terminal at Jericho Beach.

“By building a new marine delivery terminal at Jericho,” Trudeau said, “tankers will avoid the busy Burrard Inlet and Lions Gate Bridge crossing. This terminal will also be located closer to the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station — which I re-opened, you’re welcome — for quicker response to any emergencies.”

“Mayor Corrigan should also be pleased that the pipeline will no longer be going under Burnaby Mountain and that tankers will no longer be sailing via the environmentally significant Burrard Inlet.”

“We have listened to the concerns of Mayors Robertson and Corrigan. We have listened to the concerns of the First Nations. We have listened to the concerns of all citizens of Canada, and we have acted accordingly.”

“We hope they’re happy now,” said Trudeau.

New Westminster to replace Quayside trees

After hearing Quayside residents’ complaints about trees blocking their view of the Fraser River, the City of New Westminster has decided to replace all of the trees along the waterfront esplanade.

“We recognize that residents desire a view of the Fraser River, but we must also remain cognizant of our recently-enacted Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said. “Because of this bylaw, and to remain equitable to all residents of New Westminster, we will be replacing every tree along the Quayside boardwalk with two Giant Sequoias.”

“We decided on Giant Sequoias to be fair to the currently affected Quayside residents. Our bylaws state that we must replace the trees, and replacing like with like means only Quayside residents will be affected. By planting Giant Sequoias along the boardwalk, we can block the view for more New Westminster residents, making for a more equitable solution. This way the Quayside residents will no longer feel singled out.”

The trees can be expected to grow up to 50 meters in height and approximately 6 meters in diameter.

“We hope they’re happy now,” said Cote.