James Crosty: ‘there is a disconnect between residents and our elected officials’ [mayor]

Mayoral candidate James Crosty says he wants to see a "bottom up" approach to planning for neighbourhood amenities, with more input from residents' associations to determine what citizens want.

The following questionnaire was sent to all New Westminster candidates for mayor and council a little over a week ago. A separate questionnaire was sent to trustees (their responses are also being published this week). Questions were selected based primarily on comments from readers of Tenth to the Fraser collected via Twitter and Facebook, with a few of my own questions added in. Responses are published in the order they were received. Spelling/grammar are not corrected and candidates’ responses are published unedited.

James Crosty
James Crosty

1. First, let’s hear a little about you:

  • What’s your name? – James Crosty
  • How long have you lived in New Westminster? – 22 years
  • What do you love most about our city? – The People
  • What do you think most needs improvement? – Affordability of our city for all its citizens
  • What is the civic issue that is the most personally meaningful to you? – That there is a disconnect between residents and our elected officials.

2. What are the top three initiatives you believe would improve economic development?

  • Cutting red tape for businesses at City Hall to streamline processes to obtain permits, inspections, etc.
  • Please visit my website Crosty.ca for additional information

3. How would you like to see city council improve engagement with younger citizens?
The Crosty campaign recognized this issue early on in the process. By initiated the Adopt a Voter program for young people we encourage participation in the civic election. We could take council to our high school or Douglas College as an example of engaging younger citizens. Douglas College student union should be considered a Residents Association and be included in the process just to name a few.

4. What should New Westminster do to improve access to recreational programming and indoor public spaces in neighbourhoods that lack amenities like rec centres and libraries such as the West End, Connaught Heights and Sapperton?
This area needs to be further examined within the context of resident associations to discover what the residents want. A bottom up approach rather than a top down direction.

5. Which approach best describes your philosophy towards City budgeting and spending?
Please see my website  Crosty.ca for additional information. The options provide here are not what the people have suggested as a solution.

6. Which of the following most closely reflects your views on taxation?
Please see my website Crosty.ca for additional information. The options provide here are not what the people have suggested as a solution.

7. Beyond voting, serving on City committees and appearing at council meetings, what do you think citizens can do to become more involved in civic life?
Participate in your local Parent Teachers Advisory Committee and your local Resident Association.

8. What should be done about truck traffic through our city?
This is complicated and needs a full consultation process with the community and our neighbours with or without Translink at the table. If Translink is not able to solve this issue we need to provide them with our solutions and not the other way around.

9. What should be done to improve our recreation facilities? Specifically, what would you like to see done with Canada Games Pool, which is in need of repair/upgrades?
Prior to making any decision on this significant amenity a comprehensive consultation process has been done with the community. Once completed consultation with the Justice Institute, Federal Gov’t and the Province should take place to determine funding sources and potential expansion of the whole block into a BC training plaza.

10. Let’s conclude with some ‘blue sky’ thinking. What is one big-idea project or improvement that you would propose for New Westminster if cost was no object?
Please visit my website at Crosty.ca or google James Crosty for letters to the editor to see the many suggestions that have been offered in this area.

Briana Tomkinson

Briana Tomkinson is a Montreal-based writer and original founder of Tenth to the Fraser. She really likes to write letters by hand.

Briana Tomkinson is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.


  1. Surely I can't be the only one turned off by "please see my website" as an answer for 40% of the questions… Would this be indicative of how Mr. Crosty would respond to New West citizens should he be elected mayor?

  2. The "please see website" comments are appropriate for complex subjects like taxes. At least on his website he is specific, as opposed to the "I like low taxes" platitudes from some of the incumbents (who voted for inflation-busting increases in the last budget!

  3. Personally, I don't have a problem with the "please see my website." Answering questions is always easier for the incumbents, who essentially get paid to sit and formulate responses during campaigns. Others running must answer these questions on their own time, have to campaign, and likely still have to earn a living at their current jobs.

  4. If someone gave *me* an opportunity to pitch myself as mayor, asking me a direct question like "What are your top three initiatives…" I would give them an answer. Preferably, three answers. Not "I wrote all this down already, on my website. Go dig through it and figure it out for yourself." Is this his idea of better engagement with citizens? Someone asks you a question and you tell them to google you?

    And yes, I've been to the website. And no, it is not easier to read than a simple answer to a simple question.

    I like the answers he's offered, where he's deigned to offer them. But the rest is arrogant and off-putting.

  5. Please be fair and honest. New West is the ONLY Metro Van. municipality who's spending has gone DOWN in proportion to growth in past 10 years. The Youth Centre is up, running and successfully (no 'Vanity" project), Lookout is helping people rebuild their lives, 40% of developments are now mandated to be accessible to our seniors, young families and People with Disabilities, Westminster Pier has won the Brownie Award for best use of grants in Canada, the Brewery District, Port Royal, Victoria Hills and other successful developments show that Mayor Wright and Council DO LISTEN and work well with people.

  6. There is nothing wrong with Mayor Wright but if there was someone who could improve upon what he's done then I'd give them a chance. You can see again Crosty doesn't take us or your questions seriously. As the other candidates add things on their platform Crosty put's them on his but just with a few sound bites, never anything you can sink your teeth into. He's gone after council like a mad dog but he's never really gotten anywhere. Now he says he can't work with them and we should throw them all out. Well I think a bunch of them will get re-elected and how does he work with them after that? I hoped it would be more but it's just agitation and criticism without his own solutions. I'll steal a few ideas from quaysidechat.com but In a city where not many people vote, your vote or not voting can really make a difference. A handful of votes could tip us between improving on what we have, knocking it all down and starting over or electing the town fool. There's no disconnect because I don't think Crosty ever really connected. For me it's down to three and three days to figure it out.

  7. Tiffany they will tax you right out of your house and then they will put another condo or homeless shelter on your property. These so called politicians have destroyed this town and with the out of control spending we are heading towards a Greece or Italy type banking fiasco wright here in New Westminster. Think of the future generations!

    1. That is exactly the kind of made up BS mumbo jumbo we are all tired of. Every time one of these claims is investigated, it ends up being nothing but smoke.
      Lowest spending increases of any BC muni for over 2 years.
      greatest period positive change in more than a generation

    2. Bird, with respect, I get that spending is a problem at many levels in government. I see no problem with spending or even with incurring debt if it is funded correctly. Current operating expenses MUST be funded from the current budget and that is funded by the current taxpayer. If you don't do that you run a deficit which in turn drives up financing costs and passes current expenses along to future taxpayers, even as far as the future generations you are concerned about In a case where we are buidling infrastructure for the future or maintaining aging infrastructure I don't see a problem with structuring long term debt to pass some of the expense along to future taxpayers – as long as it doesn't go beyond the useful life of the improvement. It's complex and there are other organizations and levels of government that will download costs to the municipal level at any opportunity. To navigate through it, make sure we are building relationshipos with higher levels of government to take advantage of funding opportunities, and to get current operating expenses under control, could we agree that we need either a very good finance person steering the ship or someone who can build a team that can provide that level of expertise?

  8. Positive change Will is what we need! Not the 3rd highest property taxes in the province. I must say you have become quite the spin doctor, what’s in it for you?

    1. Stacey,
      Several consistent years of improvement and positive change is what I am trying to protect. Nothing Crosty stands for, has stated or has grandstanded about reflects positive change at all. He wants to stop change. He wants to say no to improvement and has build an echo chamber to convince himself that his neighbours want the same thing.
      What is in it for me?
      1) I do not necessarily support Wayne, I oppose Crosty; so protecting New Westminster from an electoral disaster is whats in it for me
      2) Engaging others in debate and electoral interest is what's in it for me.
      3) What else? I am not sure, I have not figured it out. I work in the private sector mostly outside the Canadian economy. The results of the election will impact me and my family equally to the rest of the people of New Westminster.

      1. Will:
        I think you've nailed it. Crosty is divisive and confrontational not a postive forward thinking leader with a plan for the future. His voice through his Quayside board has been critical and negative. When you listen to him talk about toxic blobs and things and then see what really happens you think his research comes from the National Enquirer. If elected I think he will undo the good things our tax dollars have accomplished just to discredit the people who did them, rather than building on them and putting his own mark on them. He'll bring a dark, negative shadow to city hall that will infect like a cancer. We'll stagnate for three years while he cajoles council to spend our money on his own set of special interests. He is a great talking head though and he's after thr throne, the gravy train and the admiration he thinks it will bestow upon him like a dog after a bone. I'm not so sure he won't win.

    2. You know, I get it that we have high property taxes. Like, I get that. I keep hearing that come out of every candidates mouth, that they are going to be the one to magically make my property taxes small.

      But I think we (as a society, population, etc) also have the choice to move away if the cost of living in a particular place is too high. I'm not saying "if you don't like it move", I'm saying "it is your choice to determine whether the costs and benefits are balanced." I personally think the trade off of what I get by choosing to have put down roots in New Westminster and what I pay for is okay. Could it be better? Absolutely. But let's compare, say, Parksville. That's where I grew up. My parents still live there. Their city recycling and trash system is pathetic (they aren't even allowed to put glass into their miniature recycling bin – it goes in the landfill), they have one bus that runs once a day through the entire district of Parksville/Qualicum in this terrible horrible hour and a half long loop, they have no hospital, and barely have an on call 24 hour doctor service, they demolished the community hall in the park a few years ago because it was going to be too expensive to fix and now it's a gravel pad…. and yet my parents say they wouldn't move for the world because it meets all of their needs. The lack of services and resources they have is a tradeoff for the idyllic setting that matches their lifestyle. Do they pay less property taxes than me? Yes, but not by that much all things considered. So what I pay for I feel like I'm getting something in return.

  9. Will – do you think all the cemetery claims/statements that Chuck and Bill and other elected oficials have made has slowed down the high school project? Do you still think remains found on the high school site should be DNA tested and carbon dated? Do you think the high school will be ready for your kids?

    1. This post is the responses from James Crosty to a survey so this question is a bit off topic BUT they are interesting questions, so for what it is worth… (perhaps not a lot) here are my answers.
      I did question if Chuck Puckmeyr's 'awareness' excercise on the 'forgotton' cemetary was responsible for part of the delay. It may well have been and that is a downside to his candidacy in my view.
      Remains carbon dated and DNA tested? If UBC or SFU or the province want to take that on, GO FOR IT, just be sure all the bones are out of the way of the construction equipment first. Get those excavators moving!
      Yes, I think the high school will be ready for my kids. They have seven to eight years to do the work BUT, what does it matter about my kids. What about yours! My neighbours! Some other family I don't know! Their kids need a good school program in the city and as fast as possible.

  10. I am with you on this one Will, “Chuck’s cemetery awareness exercise” has delayed the high school project. I only hope if he does manage to get him self elected again, he doesn’t continue with more delay exercises. I am not sure how this represents the boys and girls of New Westminster

  11. Chuck's Chief Ahan cemetery awareness exercise has cost the citizens of New Westminster dearly. This purely political shenanigan not only delayed the high school project (which my 22 year old daughter should have spent one semester in the new school and none of my children will ever be in it as a student) but it has also cost the arts community as well as the tax payers (us). Now the new high school cannot be built to complement the existing Massey Theatre. The much-loved theatre has to be torn down and a new theatre built.

  12. Ok. Where to start. The cemetary angle on the new high school is the product of a city that half assed the way things were handled a number of years ago. And we're now being made to pay for the results of that. One could go further and say that we are now paying for the mismanagement and short sightedness of previous mayors and councils within New West. This election to me is about direction. The current Mayor and most of the councillors over the past 3 terms have done a credible job in how the city has handled the loss of thousands of manufacturing and industrial jobs, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost commercial and industrial tax revenue, all the while trying to catch up on a crumbling and archaic infrastructure left to neglect by previous mayors and councils over the years.

    I'm not surprised to see James' negative comments regarding non profits in New West. It would fall in line with how John Ashdown has stated how he feels, that in effect New West has become a magnet for these things, like all non profits (like Lookout, Elizabeth Fry) are bad things and negative to a community. So much for compassion and caring from that side of the spectrum.

    1. NW, with its private police force, has really cleaned things up over the last decade. Although there are always new challenges, the approach has been creative, its a safer place, its a friendly place and the police engage kids rather than frighten them. That commission is headed by the mayor.

      It's easy to overlook the positive spin-offs and side effects some of the social programs in the city have. You mention Lookout. David Brown up there does a tremendous job and really cares. Much of what Outlook does reduces the resources needed in policing and makes it easy to live in the city alongside those less fortunate without it impacting our lives. It is one of the NP's the city has looked at carefully and embraces.

      Take a look at what David Jones up at Emergency Management has to work with. We lead, we can assist the province and other municipalities and we're all going to be thankful if there's ever a catastrophe here.

      Many great things are done in this city that we don't see but that allow us to just sit back and enjoy. Crosty has been critical of almost all of them without taking time to understand them.

  13. You are not fooling anyone Tiffany. If there was an earthquake in this city most of the schools would come down like a house of cards. There is nothing holding up the high school foundation, the ground it sits on is like Swiss cheese with all the decomposed coffins. Just ask the person who ran the ground penetrating radar.

    1. With respect, I don't think you are thinking this through fully. I’m not qualified to argue that the schools won’t come down. In fact, I think it's likely to be a lot worse than that. The role of emergency management isn't to get bogged down in the quagmire of trying to shore up or rebuild 20% or more of the city, it is to take a realistic assessment of what may go wrong, the resources available and how best to prepare and maintain a state of readiness to prioritize and react. Please look into it. I am confident you’ll find that our city is well above par. It’s one of those unglamorous things that draw on the limited resources available and create no political capital. It takes leadership to “waste” those resources on things that won’t get you elected.
      I see three candidates for mayor that are large enough to do this. I see one that has shown clearly that he can’t wrap his head around the number of unglamorous challenges that face an administration, demand resources, and make up the bulk of the day-to-day drudgery that is city building.

  14. Cities are built and run by a team, a large organizational structure. Most people agree that to run effectively these structures need leadership in a hierarchy from the top down. There is one candidate for mayor that has spent years criticizing not just the mayor but most of the team leaders, frequently dragging it to a personal level and often suggesting incompetence and undisclosed conflicts of interest. Although he’s made some interesting observations, he’s shown that he’s certainly no accountant, structural engineer or city planner. A mayor really doesn’t need to be. Successful mayors nurture a team of experts around them.
    This is where the plan falls apart. There is no practical way to purge Paul Daminato, Lisa Spitale, Rod Carle, Gary Holowatiuk and the other department heads. If elected, how would that candidate now earn their respect and lead them? Even if you believe he has a vision, he’s gone about it the wrong way and become a lame duck before entering the pond. That candidate is James Crosty and he has deliberately and irreparably disconnected from our city .

  15. Give your head a shake Tiffany Bound! Maybe we could have our leaders hire another 100 city managers at $100,000 a pop then we could have twice as many managers as Burnaby, as well as the highest property taxes in the province.

    1. Foggy – Believe me, I think the costs are too high too. Government is too large at all levels, preoccupied with things that are not priorities for the people it serves and wasteful without accountability. It must learn to do more with less if we are to reduce taxes or even just curtail the increases. I'm not knocking or supporting individual positons but New West sufferes from having people who have stayed on the payroll for a very long time and their salaries reflect that. Like many businesses there are positons where we could have two or three younger people or new-hires for the price of one who has served for years. The problem is two-fold: 1.) You can't fire them without cause or buy them out without incurring huge costs. 2.) The ensuing disruption to the working of the city if you tried, and the staff thought it was being done with malice. would last the entire term. We'd spend the money, accomplish little or nothing, and turf the mayor who did it. Crosty has gone about it the wrong way and as a result his attempt to do that would be viewed as vindictive retribution. I see no quick fix. Apparently we're headed in the right direction but it will take time.

  16. I agree with Tiffany. Politicians should be hysterical and provide direction to the City manager to implement. They should review if the departments are top heavy and assure there is a balance and there is no paranoia and bad morale at the City Hall. Department costs and efficiencies has to be measured against other municipalities with a mandate of a Continuous Improvement. Crosty worries me as clearly some one who is out there with his own agenda and will not be a strong leader. Wright for this term is a better choice by far, has balanced approach to urban issues. Down the road we will need some one collaborative with strong leadership skills. I support looking to reduce top at some of the departments, make them more modern and efficient, perhaps someone from the crop of new people next time around.

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