City Council Roundup - June 2023

This first in a new series that will follow the on-going City of New Westminster City Council

Meetings covers the June 26, 2023 session held at council chambers in New Westminster City

Hall. The focus of this roundup is the annual report from the Chief Adminstrative Office (CAO)

Lisa Spitale. In this report she gives the details of the accomplishments of city council over the

past year. Included in her report are an overview of the previously implimented strategic plan for

the city and how it impacted the past year's goals, named as the Seven Bold Steps for New

Westminster. These areas include Affordable Housing and Childcare, Culture and Economic

Development, Environment and Climate, Facilities Infrastructure and Public Realm,

Reconciliation Inclusion and Engagement, Sustainable Transportation and finally Organizational


As seen in the report, New Westminster has been able to make major inroads on the majority of

goals that were set. The report shows how the city has moved the dial towards a carbon-free

corporation by reducing the carbon footprint at fire halls and with city-owned fleets, moved

forward on the pursuit of a car-light community through the implimentation of a Master

Transportation Plan and gained traction on the goal of carbon-free buildings with the enactment

of a Community Energy and Emmissions Plan that included multi-language Empower Me

Workshops. In addition the city has implimented an eMobility Strategy as part of the goal of

pollution-free vehicles and announced the production of 420MWh of clean energy through

Urban Solar Gardens as part of the Carbon-free Energy goal. Finally, the target of increasing New

Westminster's Urban Forest Canopy was pusued through the planting of native trees, tree sale

events and the implimentation of a watering bag program for replacement trees while the city

continued in it's efforts to create a quality people-centered realm by creating more public space

across the city.

Spitale is quick to point out the stellar job done by city staff, in particular the Communications

Department, for this annual report. Councillor Nakagawa points out that New Westminster is

leading the region in the building of purposeful rentals and lauded the commitment of staff who

went and replanted trees planted by local polititians to ensure their survival. Councillor Daniel

Fontaine brings up the need to rename this from a report to a report card and not just name

accomplishments but also the challenges of what was not accomplished. Councillor Ruby

Campbell comments on how these kinds of accomplishments by the city are what inspired her to

run for city council along with the appointment of an Indigenous Relations Advisor as a game

changer for the city. Councillor Tasha Henderson points out that there is a lot to celebrate in this

report including the movement forward on climate action. Councillor Jamie McEvoy lauds the

work of the local animal shelter and finally Mayor Patrick Johnstone acknowledges that 2022

was a strange and challenging year for everyone.

The Mayor continues by thanking the staff for helping the city through the transition to a new

City Council after the elections and keeping the city on track in its recovery from the pandemic.

He recognizes the work of the previous mayor and council members who sat in council during

much of the time covered in the report. He reflects on a question posed to him earlier by local

indigenous leaders on what he wants his legacy to be as a leader and how he kept going back to

the planting of trees in the community. How in 30 years, when he is gone, those thousands of

trees we are planting now will be a legacy for those who come after us. He also touched on the

movement forward on reconcilliation and climate change and how as he meets with the youth of

the city, he sees that work as his legacy to give to them.

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