Reducing homelessness, improving Columbia St. on Wayne Wright’s agenda [mayor]

Incumbent mayor Wayne Wright is known for attracting development to New Westminster, but the issue that is most personally meaningful to him is reducing homelessness in our city.

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.

Wayne Wright
Wayne Wright

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

  • What’s your name? – Wayne Gary Wright
  • How long have you lived in New Westminster? – 34
  • What do you love most about our city? – he wonderful people and a community built of neighbourhoods
  • What do you think most needs improvement? – Columbia Street
  • What is the civic issue that is the most personally meaningful to you? – Reducing homelessness

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

  • More support for local business improvement associations
  • Small business incubation and support
  • Attracting more big companies to New West

3. How would you like to see city council improve engagement with younger citizens?
We have been making our council meetings more transparent by putting them on TV, we have CityNews both online and as an eNewsletter. We have a youth advisory committee. We are exploring other social media options.

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?
Rome was not built in a day.We are now building a library as part of the new Queensborough community centre expansion. Similar hubs are being planned for the neighbourhoods you mention.

5. Which approach best describes your philosophy towards City budgeting and spending?
New West should take advantage of funding offered from other sources (federal, provincial, developers, etc.) in order to fund important community & infrastructure improvements – even if it means having to borrow to pay for our share of a project
We have in fact done all three for years.

6. Which of the following most closely reflects your views on taxation?
Taxes are too high. The City should freeze or reduce property taxes by any means necessary, even if this requires cutting back on City staffing or services.
We strive to reduce taxes without sacrificing the amenities and services the community asks for.

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?
They need to do what appeals to them personally, whether sport, art or whatever.

8. What should be done about truck traffic through our city?
There are only two options, redirect truck traffic elsewhere such as to the new Port man bridge, or mitigate the problem in New West through for example encapsulation. The City is in negotiation with Translink and the Province and conpleting a traffic master plan.

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?
Our recreation facilities are constantly being repaired and upgraded as funding permits.

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?
Upgrade and expand RCH

If you’d like to learn more about Wayne Wright, you can find him online:

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.

Tenth to the Fraser