Sustainable development plan coming for downtown


Downtown New Westminster. Photo credit: Daniel Fortin (aka powderedsnow)
Downtown New Westminster. Photo credit: Daniel Fortin

New Westminster is working on a new sustainable development plan for our downtown area thanks to a $136,000 grant from the Federation of Canadian MunicipalitiesGreen Municipal Fund

The plan will guide development in a proactive manner by identifying policies and implementation strategies to ensure sustainable growth of the downtown as a high quality, liveable, transit-oriented regional town centre.

The plan will:

  • Review land use/zoning policies
  • Research innovative ways to provide public open space
  • Foster adaptive reuse of heritage resources
  • Identify options to mitigate the noise, air quality and connectivity issues relating to the regional goods movement corridor. 
  • Encourage public transit use in the more densely populated core 
  • Protecting open space and natural areas by focusing growth within existing urban areas

New Westminster development services planning analyst Eric Westberg sent me the following tips on how to get involved if sustainability is an issue that matters to you: 

Read city council’s reports & share your feedback

The Draft Framework for the Downtown Sustainability Action Plan (a sub-component of the Downtown Community Plan) at this time is scheduled to go to Council on June 1. Based on this schedule, it will be publicly available with the weekly Council package on May 29 on the city’s website

The consultant working on the project is HB Lanarc (read more info on the project and the selection of HB Lanarc in the April 6 Council report).

The Downtown Community Plan has a dedicated information page on the city’s website as well, with meeting notes and information dating back to summer 2007.  You may also be interested to reach the city’s Corporate Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (PDF file)

If you’d like to send feedback to the city, here’s who to contact: 



Attend upcoming public consultation meetings

Eric confirmed that there will be further public consultation meetings on the overall Downtown Community Plan coming up soon, however dates are TBD. If you’re interested to know when they will be, leave a comment on this post. At these meetings, there will be an opportunity for citizens to provide feedback on various sustainability issues, including one of New West’s big hot buttons: transportation.

Watch for further related city-wide environmental initiatives

With recent Provincial environmental legislation committing to a 33% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, New Westminster may follow the lead of cities like North Vancouver who have created city-wide sustainability vision statements and greenhouse gas local action plans. Further public consultation would be included in any such plan.

Join a city committee and/or NWEP

Councillor Jaimie McEvoy chairs New Westminster’s Environment Advisory Committee, which operates on a one-year term and meets every two months. If you’d like to sit in on a meeting of this committee, the next one is June 10 at 6:30pm at City Hall (either Committee Room 2 or Council Chamber). 

You can see the complete list of citizen volunteer committees on the city’s website. The application process for the upcoming term will begin later this year. 

Eric also recommended becoming involved through New Westminster Environmental Partners, headed by perennial Green candidate Matthew Laird (who is also on the Environment Committee). 

There’s also New West Environmental Partners, headed by Matthew Laird, who is on the Environment Committee. NWEP suggests a variety of ways to get involved on their website, including: 

  • Joining a planning committee (areas of focus include energy, transportation and agriculture)
  • Writing letters to local newspapers and politicians on sustainability issues (and I would add, guest post on Tenth To The Fraser!)
  • Make a delegation to city council on key issues
  • Demonstrate sustainable living in your own lifestyle
  • Spread the word about environmental issues to friends & family
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4 Replies to “Sustainable development plan coming for downtown”

  1. As a citizen of downtown New West, I would like less wedding stores and more non-wedding stores. I understand that having a “bridal district” makes it more of a shopping attraction, however there are few stores in the downtown (besides restaurants) that really serve the downtown community on a day to day basis. Just a thought.

  2. Yes – there's got to be an alternative to a Bridezilla-dedicated strip! I'm fine with the bridal stores, but I'd love to see more resident-oriented services, more like the mix on Commercial Drive (boutiques mixed with butcher shops and artisan bakeries and coffee shops/restaurants).

  3. I worry about the use of the word "sustainable"

    Do you really think that what we have is sustainable ?
    Thing are getting older, like infrastructures and people, density is increasing while we're running out of money.

    I would say we're headed for the brick wall in another 20 years, the GVRD is to big to be sustained even with all the underutilized ALR lands.

    Or do they mean 'financially' sustainable ? How much stuff do you have to sell (or tax) in order to pay off the cost of building this or fixing that ? How many cups of coffee a day ? How many loafs of bread ? How many dresses ? Sustainable economics ?


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