‘Love Our City’ workshop takes place on Valentine’s Day
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
On February 14, the Anvil Centre will be hosting New Westminster’s “Our City Neighbourhood Visioning Process.” The event invites current and future residents of New Westminster to discuss city plans to take place over the next several years.
“We do a lot of engagement processes any time we create a new city policy,” said Jackie Teed of New Westminster’s official community plan (OCP). “As a big part of that, [we] engage the community to get feedback and make sure we’re headed in the right direction.”
Teed stated that aspects of the city such as communities and businesses are represented in the OCP workshops. But while similar events consistently take place to help shape New Westminster, an event like the Visioning Process has not occurred for some time.
“In terms of a big workshop like this, probably the last time anything like this was done for an OCP would’ve been back when [the OCP] was written, which was in 1998.”
While the Visioning Process was set to happen this year, Teed stated that planning to hold the event on Valentine’s Day potentially aids in making the process more inviting to members of the community.
“Having [the Visioning Process] on February 14 makes it pretty easy to turn it into more of a fun event, a fun way for people to start talking about the future of the city.”
In discussing potential changes to the OCP, subjects ranging from New Westminster’s environment to heritage to social policies are discussed amongst those in attendance. Teed added that there is importance in hearing what younger members of New West’s community have to say about the city, and what they hope to see in the future.
“What we’re specifically focussing on at this workshop is, ‘how does the community see their neighbourhood … developing into the future?’
“We wonder, are there other big innovative ideas that we should be looking forward to and planning for? So those kinds of things are really linked tightly to the way young people live in the city.”
“I think it’s always beneficial for people who are going to be living in the community when something like an OCP comes to fruition. The OCP looks well into the future, it goes out to 2041, so it’s really starting to set the tone for where the community will go, out to the time where people will be identifying the places that they want to live and settle, and where their children will be trying to decide where to go to school, those kinds of things. So it’s really about looking forward to what kind of city do you want to have in your future. I think it’s actually an exercise that very strongly should be driven by younger people in our community because they’re the ones who’re going to have to live with it ultimately.”
The “Our City Neighbourhood Visioning Process” will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to the public. Attendance is free, and Teed stated, “everybody who participates gets an opportunity to speak … in the workshop,” but to secure a spot, online registration for the event can be done through Eventbrite.