Winner, Best Campaign Staff: Kirpaul Kaur

Taking a (web)page straight from the David Plouffe hand book, this local school trustee candidate has been kicking it Obama style by launching a polite and engaging army of telephone campaign staff on the voters of New Westminster.

Oh yes, after getting a call a week ago, my wife asked some questions about the “School on Grimston Park” controversy (against btw) and as a follow up, she asked further questions that the volunteer simply could not answer on Ms. Kaur’s behalf. “May I take your information and Kirpaul can get back to you?” Why Yes! Lets do that! One day later, Kirpaul Kaur herself called in, eager to help answer a voter’s questions and assist the democratic process (get that vote!). Almost 40 minutes later, we were satisfied that we had been talking to a genuine, honest and thoughtful candidate.

While in a recent article in the Record, she states that a third middle school was a priority, Kirpaul (and all of the candidates) submitted their brief blurbs before the Grimston Park Blowup. Since that time, many candidates have learned, like the citizens of the West End, of the details behind the school building options. She stated that she wanted to lead and direct a process that would solicit options from stakeholders and the community, synthesise them down to a manageable format and present them for deliberation to the public. We need some schools built but which ones do we need, how do we want to organise them? She also advocated a level of transparency and informatuon sharing that can only be achieved through the internet.

So then this evening, not 15 minutes ago dear readers, I was called by another Kaur-ista. “Hello, I am calling in support of Kirpaul Kaur”. After a brief an ironic conversation, my call waiting started to beep. I ended the Kaurnversation and picked up the other line: ” Hello I am calling on behalf of Kirpaul Kaur!”

Woah, if that is not someone who can get things done… I don’t know what is.

ENDORSED: Kirpaul Kaur by the two voters at Tenth to the Fraser.

New middle school could be built on parkland

And then there were none...

A small geographical footprint is both one of New Westminster’s charms and one of its challenges. Density is inevitable. Sprawl is not an option. This is great, if you’re assessing public transit feasibility or walkability within the city. It means, however, that options are limited when it comes to new development.  

New West has long known it needs new schools. The current high school is in need of upgrades and isn’t adequate to house all of the city’s kids. The original idea was to rebuild on the same site. The catch? Our secondary school is built on an indian burial ground
It’s like something out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I keep expecting some kind of monstrous hell-beast to emerge from a Hellmouth deep in the bowels of the school, threatening to bet all the city’s kittens at poker and cursing the local mallrats with syphilis
So, we need new schools. And we can’t build them on the site where NWSS has stood for 60 years in case executed Tsilhqot’in warrior Chief Ahan was buried there 144 years ago. 
Something has to give. And that ‘something’ seems likely to be park land. Three parks are currently being considered for a new middle school site, all in the West End:
While residents would lose some park space (and potentially see more traffic), we have it on good authority that if land for the school is carved out of a park like Grimston, the site would also see upgrades that could offset the loss. 
In any case, this is all still tentative. The city is gathering feedback now, so if you want to learn more about the ghost of Chief Ahan or share your opinions on the new school site, there are some important dates to know (all events at the NWSS library):
  • Oct. 25 (11am, 1 & 3pm)  & Oct. 30 (7pm) (just in time for Halloween!) – Historical research on the cemetery at NWSS. 
  • Nov. 1 (11am, 1 & 3pm) & Nov. 4 (7:30pm) – Public info sessions on middle school options.