New West ‘homing pigeons’ vow to settle down

This is a guest post by Chelle Patterson, who has, over the past 18 years, established a habit of moving back to New Westminster. Homecoming #4 has just been completed, and here Chelle vows she will remain in our hilly little coop.

Photo: Fiona MacGuinty
Photo: Fiona MacGuinty

On August 6th, my husband and I moved to New Westminster. This is his third time living here and my fourth. I guess you could say we’re New West Homing Pigeons. Despite being dragged off to far away places, we always find our way back. The question is, Why?

Uptown shopping

How much better does it get than being able to do all of one’s shopping without having to get in the car? Much like Portland, a pedestrian-friendly city, New West caters to those sans vehicle. One can visit the local drug store, get groceries, go to the Post Office, shop second-hand, and eat killer waffles all within the space of a few blocks. Having just been transplanted from Nanaimo (big box store and strip mall mecca) New West is a refreshing change and heaps more accessible.

It’s central

Where else can one live in the Lower Mainland and get such easy access to a multitude of thoroughfares and bridges? (Not to mention SkyTrain.) As we are both self-employed, it’s important that the two of us waste as little time as possible getting to our clients. New West fits the bill and also offers surface street access just in case the freeway is clogged.

Apartments are still affordable

I just graduated college as a mature student and spent the equivalent of a house down payment on my education. Back to ‘square one’ financially, New West is the perfect place to be close to Vancouver without breaking the bank. Rent here is still reasonable and there are some nice, well-managed, well-maintained apartment buildings. As a bonus, we’re lucky enough to be in one that takes dogs so our Chihuahua can be here without us fearing eviction for harbouring a canine.

The library

The first library in the province, this entertainment hub is well-stocked with DVDs, VHS movies, CDs, and books on tape. They boast a wonderful book collection, courteous and helpful staff, and a quiet place to study. This is a great way to avoid hooking up cablevision. The best part is the price: free.

Now that we’ve been back for three weeks, we’re settled in, and have already re-formed our routine of walking the neighbourhoods, greeting fellow pedestrians, and eyeing the heritage homes. Yay for New West! These two pigeons won’t be leaving the coop again anytime soon.

One Reply to “New West ‘homing pigeons’ vow to settle down”

  1. Oops I’m becoming regular here.

    My partner & I moved to New West’r., from Kitsilano, 2 years ago. We rented one year & have owned one year, both in apartments “uptown”. We were away six months the first year, & my buddy was away four months this past year. He made the adjustment more easily.

    Finally I am finding my groove, making my way. A favourite restaurant re-opened (its initials are T. O. R. – we enjoy the Open Mic music on Tues. nights), the new outdoor pool is just across the park (our personal “spa”).

    I’m glad to be able to support the community in small ways through groups like the Hospitality Project & the Second Chances store. New social & inspirational groups will start having meetings here this fall. Yes, the library is amazing, its services & its hours of opening.

    As for all the history, its growing on me. I was pleased to read a local paper’s article about Chief Rhonda Larrabee & to hear this gracious woman speak recently. She is “our own royalty”.

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