2011 election results: Puchmayr edges out Osterman on council; Campbell, Phelan, Mortensen join school board,

Preliminary New Westminster election results are in, and the results are not entirely unexpected. As in the 2008 election, there is only one new face on City Council, but unlike last time, voters did opt for change on school board. And despite an energetic campaign by challenger James Crosty, incumbent mayor Wayne Wright won by a landslide.


Wayne Wright was re-elected with over 60% of the vote in New Westminster.
Wayne Wright was re-elected with 62% of the vote in New Westminster.

Preliminary New Westminster election results are in, and the results are not entirely unexpected. As in the 2008 election, there is only one new face on City Council, but unlike last time, voters did opt for change on school board. And despite an energetic campaign by challenger James Crosty, incumbent mayor Wayne Wright won by a landslide.

Crosty used a variety of means to get attention, including launching a campaign to brand himself as a ‘citizen advocate’ months before declaring his candidacy, Tweeting frequently, hosting ‘citizen chats’ with interested voters and leveraging his position as the president of the Quayside Community Board, one of the city’s most effective residents’ associations, to improve name recognition and rally his base of supporters. Crosty hoped to tap into dissatisfaction with the status quo on issues such as train noise, municipal taxation and spending, and big-ticket projects like the new Pier Park (dubbed ‘Wayne’s Wharf’ by the Crosty campaign). But Crosty was also dogged by a series of gaffes, including accusations of plagiarism after lifting the answer to a candidates questionnaire from Wikipedia, lack of attendance at all-candidates’ events and Tweeting caustic responses to critical questions from voters. In the end, while some voters were receptive to the idea of change, they were not convinced that Crosty was the person to lead New Westminster in a new direction.

With about 60% share of vote vs. Crosty’s 30%, Wright’s win is a clear indication that a solid majority of voters believe New Westminster is on the right path. Most people I spoke to thought the city could do better in one way or another, but believed our town is far better off today than it was nine years ago, and they can see things getting even better once major downtown developments stickhandled by Wright are completed, including the new multi-use Civic Centre, the Plaza 88 development and the Pier Park.

On council, former councillor and NDP MLA Chuck Puchmayr easily won a seat, edging out incumbent Bob Osterman. Jaimie McEvoy, who just barely won his seat in 2008 came in with a much stronger showing with the third largest number of votes. Jonathan Cote also came out a winner, claiming the top spot with 6,481 votes. Cote ran his campaign the way he managed his previous years on council, with dedication, good humour and dogged persistence. The Cote campaign knocked on 3,100 doors during the campaign and participated in six 6:30am ‘Burmashave’ rallies to drum up support. All other incumbents won their seats, including Bill Harper, Betty McIntosh and Lorrie Williams.

The school board race turned out to be the most interesting. There were two vacant seats on the board, and most people expected District Labour Council-endorsed candidates Jonina Campbell and David Phelan to win those spots, but what I didn’t expect was that Campbell and Phelan turned out to be the most popular trustee candidates. It is a credit both to the quality of the candidates and to their campaigns, as it is notoriously difficult to break through as a new trustee. Another fresh face squeaked in too, Voice’s MaryAnn Mortensen. Incumbent trustee and fellow Voice colleague Jim Goring lost his spot. Incumbents round out the new school board: Voice’s Lisa Graham and Casey Cook and DLC-endorsed Michael Ewen and James Janzen.

So there you have it: a more progressive council and school board, and a clear endorsement of Mayor Wayne Wright’s vision and leadership for New West – at least for the next three years.

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. Nice to see that positive campaigning really seems to have paid off in New Westminster. Jonathan X Cote looks to be a really strong candidate for future office; although just for a council spot, his campaign was very well-organized and pitch-perfect. Mayor Cote 2014? Probably more like MLA Cote…

    1. It'll only be MLA, if he runs for the Liberals or Cons. The only way he could run for the NDP, is if lightning strikes their big wigs and they wake up and get rid of their repugnant, discriminatory so called "equity mandate". Jonathan is an articulate well spoken person. But he's not the sole victim of this mandate.

  2. I guess I'm pretty happy with the results. The District Labour Council Slate (and yes, they are a slate) are kind of like the BCA Slate in Burnaby…they're leftist but not anti-business hard-core socialists…with the exception of McEvoy who seems to be to the left of Karl Marx and would probably advocate banning the private automobile by the sounds of it. But despite his politics, and the annoying "green" stuff he advocates, he has

    But what puzzles me is how people in New West could elect Chuck Puchmayr!? Does anyone not remember this guy trying to hold up construction on a much needed High School because the Holy Grail or the secrets of the Da Vinci Code or something was buried down there? It was his own hairbrained idea which stopped the High School project in its tracks, until Jim Wolf was hired and concluded that Puchmayr was out to lunch and there was no Indian Chief or Egyptian King or any other treasures buried at the school. That one puzzles me.

    1. It goes to history Sapperton. The one corner of the school field was once a graveyard. But in New Westminster tradition, the records were destroyed by fire or lost. And the cemetary was never fully decommissioned. It seems that New Westminster more than any other place seems to have suffered a tonne of these types of incidents over the years. Mysterious fires, missing documents and the like.

      1. But the Natives were not pushing the issue. It was Chuck coming up with his own theory which was foolish, and then shot down by historians. As a representative, he should have his priorities straight. I hope he doesn't make blunders like that on Council.

        1. @Sapperton. I think that Chuck will do fine on council. I can't disagree with your criticism of his handling of the issue, as I pretty much was shaking my head at it myself. He picked the wrong thing to run with, and it didn't put him in the best light. The one thing I'll say is that on council he's one of 7 (mayor included), whereas MLA, you're on a tightrope on local issues. He was an excellent 3 term councillor before becoming MLA. I don't see any reason why he wouldn't still be more than competent at it now. And also, having learned from being out on a tight rope like that, he should be more cautious before proceeding. However, that mistake is easily made when the records of who or what is buried in that commissioned cemetary are few and far between. And that might have been a case of trying to appear to be proactive in stopping something that couldn't be reversed. I don't really know. Chuck would be the best one to ask.

  3. Sure, the results of the election have left me pretty satisfied, but the best thing to come of this election is the maturity of this blog. It wasn't long ago it seemed destined to pack it in, but the visitors heeded the call and it has become more relevant than ever, and particularly prescient regarding local public opinion. Keep it up!
    My recent post A comment from Ihaveavoice

  4. Sapperton – There is effectively just one ideological system by which humanity can successfully organise itself at a grand level. That same system must build infrastructure to support massive transportation needs, but whether private vehicles or mass transit systems are used to meet those needs is irrelevant.

    The private automobile would be useless without a national socialist/state capitalist system to transfer a hefty portion of the wealth from broad segments of the public to the state, as massive public works projects are essential to build and maintain the required roads, bridges, tunnels, and highway systems. Furthermore, an intimidating military is required to strictly limit disruptions to the energy supply chain needed to fuel the vehicles.

    In ancient times, it was only financially rapacious imperial systems, such as the Roman and Incan empires, that built substantial road networks. In Henry Ford’s era, it was the Nationalsozialisten (NSDAP) regime that built Germany's Autobahn. State capitalist America's Interstate Highway system was inspired by the Autobahn, which General, and later President Eisenhower admired, and rightly recognised for its logistical value to the military. The currently state capitalist People's Republic of China is in the midst of constructing its own version of the Autobahn, and is of course matching that project with further investments in the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the war-fighting capacity of the People's Liberation Army.

    Above the level of hunter/gathering, subsistence agriculture or pastoralism, only a national socialist/state capitalist system ensures the continuation of a massive, complex, industrial civilisation. There is a choice to be made between a private vehicular transportation system and a public mass transit system, but there is no genuine ideological choice, as either depends on an all-powerful state. And there really is no prospect of dismantling the state and going back to hunter/gathering, subsistence agriculture or pastoralism, as any nation that attempted to do so would be swiftly conquered by of the remaining resource-hungry national socialist/state capitalist states.

    1. @Disillusioned in BC. One thing I like most about Canada is our constitutional rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under those rights, as you have exercised here, is the freedom of expression. If you truly feel that BC is that bad, or Canada for that fact, may I suggest that you exercise another one of our rights, the freedom of mobility and move on.

      1. Nowhere did I say there's anything wrong with civilisation as it exists in Canada in general or in BC in particular. All I meant was that there's no significant difference between civilisations with respect to how they organise their economies. Hence, all cities, airports, train stations, highway systems and other infrastructure look much alike. The extent to which civilisations choose to execute or imprison large numbers of their own is one of their few distinguishing features, and that can be pinned to ideological differences, but they all remain more alike than not. Thus, there is nothing distinguishing about a Marxist automoble policy, as Sapperton suggests, because a Marxist, a fascist and a centrist will all have a similar policy toward infrastructure, unless they intend to go back toward the Stone Age.

  5. First, thanks to all at Tenth to the Fraser. I think you did an excellent job of making information available for all candidates and hosted some effective discussion. Next though, Quayside Community Board is not a residents association and doesn't have any residents as members. It's 'devoted to assisting Strata Corporations and Housing Cooperatives'. Seventeen buildings along the Quay are members. With some buildings the representative isn't a member of strata council and there might be no formal discussion with strata council about the Quayside meetings. It's often hostile towards the city and doesn't take the incentives that many of the other residents associations have made use of. You can see there wasn't overwhelming support from the Quayside community to support the boards President as Mayor. Some of this is because many residents don't know what the board is but others don't like what it does when it is negative and has a political focus. Along the Quay I think people wanted results, not drama, and unlike the Quayside Board, generally think things aren't so bad in New West.

    1. Please note that the Quayside Board consist of 18 strata corporations and to take issue with the President at the expense of all the people who work hard on this board is just misguided. The Quayside Festival and Light up the Quay are community projects that add to the dimension of this city. Many volunteers work countless hours on these events without any city funding by the way.
      Additionally the Board (which is elected by condo owners who elect the strata councils that represent every condo owner) handles things beyond your negative rantings here. For those that wish to be enlightened board minutes are posted at http://www.quaysideboard.com. Your more the hostile not the hard working volunteers of the Quayside Board including our President (and good for him to run for public office). Talk about belly aching Lord help us if you really are Tiffany Bound. I suggest you read the amnesty international edict so that you know what happens when you don't help your community and stand on the sidelines. People need to see the glass as half full rather than half empty funny you seem to want it both ways. Your personal negative crap about a citizen and then comment that things are not so bad is really getting old….

        1. Jenarbo do you live at the Quay? We get our minutes by email or posting on bulletin boards from our representative on the board so you should ask your representative to send you the latest minutes. The website posts the minutes later than the members get them.

  6. I wonder who if anyone will claim the Toronto telephone bank as an election expense. Does anyone have any idea on how much money was actualy spent during this election? Who paid for MP I mean MLA Black’s 4 page mail out? With the amount of money that was thrown into New Westminster maybe we should just let them appoint the politicians and save everyone the….

    1. Why not call her office and find out. I believe that each of the mailouts from the 2 MPs and MLA were out of their own personal pocket. Knowing the 3 as I do, they are smart enough to know better than to use public funds for partisan campaigning in a civic election. I've been made aware that in Burnaby Harry Bloy and Richard Lee take active roles in civic elections with Team Burnaby. Now that could explain why the BCA (Burnaby Citizens Association) has continually shut out Team Burnaby in the last 2 elections.

    2. Right On! All Candidates are subject to financial rules, but it seems these guys (MLA's Brochure) are exempt from declaring anything. Is it just the way of the NDP. Let them appoint ???? that is what they have done! What does the "D" stand for in NDP? I thought it was "Democrat" obviously not by their actions.

      1. Hey John, this may surprise you, but I didn't think it was a smart idea to do what they did. And I think they've heard from a number of people in that regard. But having said that, there was nothing untoward what they did. They did not use public funds or public resources in doing the endorsements. Was it engaging in partisan politics, you bet. And there's a lot of pros and cons in doing so. But that'll take place I'm sure when each of them stand for election, or in Dawn's case, the nominee elect, Judy Darcy. But like I also said, Bloy and Lee have been active in civic politics in their terms as being MLAs in Burnaby, so there' s nothing really wrong. I just don't think its been done in New West before. I also believe that if they had endorsed yourself, things may have been different. In terms of finacial disclosure rules and allegedly flouting them, John, John, John. Come on now. We all know that when it came to that (flouting of disclosure rules) ol, Batman himself, Kash Heed, Liberal MLA is the one who is best known for flouting those rules, getting caught, and throwing everyone but himself under the bus to save his hide.

  7. By the way, Wayne Wright is the 2nd longest serving Mayor in New West History, and will have a shot at #1 after this term.

    He will have served for 12 years (2002-2014) if he stays the whole term. Muni Evers served for 14. Betty Toporowski was in for 8 as was Fred Hume, Jackson was in for 7 and Tom Baker in for 6.

    BTW, although we elected Muni Evers in the 60s, I believe he was just the 2nd Jewish Mayor in Canada, besides Toronto's Nathan Philips. But we've never elected a person of colour to Council in New West…Hmmm……

  8. I'm quite pleased with the results of the election. I'm proud of the fact that I 'called' the Mayor's and Council results, right down to Osterman losing to Puchmayr on the west side. And it looks like the coalition to keep Casey Cook elected (aka Voice) was quite successful at the school board and no where else. The fact that Jim Goring lost to Mary Anne Mortenson (Voice in, Voice Out) shows that maybe its time for Voice to call it quits. I feel Mary Anne would have won election to school board without Voice. As would Casey, by sheer name recogition alone. I was surprised that Campbell and Phelan had such strong numbers for their first time out.

    Overall, I think that the City has an effective management system in place. Congrats to all the winners.

  9. Ok, I can't resist. I'm also elated to see that the people of New West voted 2 to 1 for substance over style when it came to the Mayor's race. I use that analogy not because its necessarily true, but because its the closest one to describe the 2 main combatants. I'm actually glad that someone who took a short cut or 2 during the campaign (Wikipedia, and rather than answering any tough questions, just referred to old letters to the editor) wasn't rewarded for doing so. Is Wayne Wright the 'perfect Mayor'. No. But of the 4 people putting themselves forward, he was the best of the lot. He acted with grace, maturity, and professionalism, under a withering attack from James Crosty, and 2 other candidates for Mayor that could only be described as along for the ride.

  10. And one final comment, to an interesting character and at times political foe and adversary, John Ashdown. I meant what I said to you a number of months ago. The advise I gave you holds true to this day. I read various postings related to your positions on issues during the campaign, on this blog. You don't win elections by not taking people seriously. John's a hard working community minded person with some, umm, interesting outlooks and viewpoints. Keep up the hard work, as we'll probably work together on a few things. Politics aside of course.

    1. Thanks, Dave you have always been a great friend and Foe. Time for that Buffalo Burger as I am running out. My Hunter/Gatherer Bro in Law has retired and spends the season south as a snowbirder.

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