Housing a top priority for growing population
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
The City of New Westminster is working on revealing a new community plan called OUR CITY 2041, which will outline a set of goals slated to be achieved by 2041.
The plan is being developed through the use of staff and public input, research, and the Integrated Community Sustainability Planning document, which acts to guide the city towards sustainable plans, policies, and projects.
OUR CITY 2041 will affect many aspects of life in New Westminster, including housing, as the city is plotting how land within the city will be developed as the population of the city grows to an estimated population of 104,000. Although these land use plans involve commercial and industrial development, a majority of the focus will go towards developing residential areas.
According to the New Westminster Record, the growing population will require 16,500 new houses to be built by 2041, as well as 700,000 square feet of commercial property. Much of the expected development will be in close proximity to major transit stations.
The new developments in residences will see the creation of more townhouses and duplexes, which currently only house five per cent of the New Westminster population. The rest of the population currently reside either in apartments, which account for 67 per cent of residents, or single family homes, which account for 28 per cent of residents.
New Westminster is aiming to create more affordable housing to encourage younger people to stay in the city by creating a wide range of residences that will fit with different demographics and incomes.
The city will release its list of neighbourhood land-use scenarios during a public workshop on November 7, which will be taking place at the Anvil Centre from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
New Westminster City Counsellor Patrick Johnstone expressed excitement for the next step in the developing plan when he told the New Westminster Record: “This is not the end of the conversation. This is the beginning of the conversation.”
The community plan started being developed in the summer of 2014, and is currently in step four of its five planning steps. Previous steps involved launching the planning process, background research, and deciding what goals needed to be achieved. Step four involves drafting new policies and land-use scenarios. This step is expected to continue over until winter 2016.
Aside from housing, OUR CITY 2041 is also going to explore further development with public parks, transportation infrastructure, public utilities, employment, environmental initiatives, food, health, and energy. In addition, the city is planning on increasing investment in more social sects, such as the arts, culture, community, and heritage.