It’s been with a keen interest from the perspectives of both a New West kid and that of a Realtor I’ve watched a positive renewal of many a New Westminster neighbourhood. Everyone operating within the city, visiting, or just driving through, has made note of much change. A while ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Wayne Wright and chat about this growth. Today I’ll share a few thoughts from my perspectives and conclusions from that meeting.
As a New West kid I grew to know downtown as a sketchy dilapidated pass through, home to bottle collectors, wedding boutiques, and inoperative docks that rotted in to the river. Still yet I always had great pride in my hometown and often imagined building transformative landmark buildings on the river front, in Sapperton, and elsewhere around town. While the Woodlands lands did not become new home to the Canucks I have still taken great pride in the significant investment made by private and public sectors all over town. From Sapperton, where we have a real deal grocery store, through downtown, where we see folks enjoying a meal or coffee up and down Columbia. We will soon have our own theatre, civic centre, and replacement for the rotten dock in the form of a waterfront park. All this investment in parks, streetscapes, infrastructure, sporting facilities, and more, adds to the liveability and will be a source of pride for future generations.
From the perspective of a Realtor I am very bullish on New West and make it quite well known to anyone who asks. I’ve felt that for many years prices in certain areas were depressed and lagged behind others due to the product available and stagnant public investment. Today private investment from a wide array of developers has funnelled in and boosted supply of new condos. Transforming old buildings or empty lots into homes to thousands of new New Westminsterites. These new homes have brought a changing demographic, greater population of consumers for local business, and a foundation for future growth. Most importantly our location in the lower mainland, right in the middle of it all, will always be desirable. We have little if any extra land available which would suggest land value will continue on an upward trend.
Given the opportunity to sit down with the mayor I wanted to learn more about the ongoing projects, development we’ve seen completed, and the future direction of the city. We jumped from topic to topic, from issue to event, and shared thoughts on whats next for New West. My first note was regarding the passion and sense of excitement the mayor exuded when discussing his vision. I was told the focus at the outset was to be on all areas that were not up to their potential. Certain tactics and events were necessary to move the vision forward. Including successfully moving “the boat” out and new Starlight Casino in to Queensborough. As my enthusiasm for the cities growth is high I was comforted by the mayor’s being even greater. I felt he was very prideful of the strides we have made during his time as mayor and it was clear that he very much wants to see it through successfully. I also liked to hear the suggestion that he would go down to the potential site of a project and clearly explain his vision for it to any stakeholders. Who better to pitch the cities merits I thought.
We have an election upcoming and many challenges to tackle yet. That is without doubt. Along with our central Lower Mainland location comes traffic congestion issues that need serious discussion. We also desperately need a new high school – like, yesterday. However, from both my perspectives as a proud New West kid, and local Realtor, I am very happy with the change and development we’ve seen over the past 8 years. I believe this great investment is well deserved and long awaited by proud New Westminsterites. I’d like to see New West continue down this track, drawing in new blood, garnering investment, and building upon our civic pride. I’d like to see our mayor, Wayne Wright, continue leading us in that direction.