WERA General Meeting May 29 2012
W. E. R. A. General Meeting
May 26, 2012: commenced 7:00 p.m.
Chair: Elmer Rudolph
Recorder: Gavin McLeod
Number of attendees: 11
1. Approval of minutes of previous meeting: Moved Seconded and Carried to approve minutes of the meeting of February 28, 2012 meeting: moved by Bill Zander seconded by Mary Wilson.
2. Additional Agenda Items: Letter of complaint from west end resident, 12th Street Festival.
3. City Master Transportation Plan including the future of the Pattullo bridge: There have been numerous meetings involving the City’s master transportation plan and the Pattullo bridge, some meetings included both as topics. The city is not formally involved with Translink. The city has announced that it wants to have more options available for the bridge including the number of lanes, locations, approaches and even the choice of repairing, even repurpose or demolish and not replace the existing bridge. Elmer Rudolph reported on the open house at the Justice Institute where the consensus was the bridge should not be replaced, the January 2009 fire closing the bridge was reported as an example of how traffic would improve in New Westminster and commuters would find other routes. Gavin McLeod reported on a business meeting involving Surrey and New Westminster businesses, the Pattullo bridge replacement was the topic; Translink and Surrey strongly supported a six lane replacement but New Westminster city reps declared opposition. Mary Wilson reported on a subsequent City Council meeting where Councillor Chuck Puchmayr suggested that due to a lack of participation by New Westminster businesses, at the joint meeting, that city council should consult directly with businesses. Elmer Rudolph spoke about Vancouver’s rejection of freeways. There is an upcoming meeting at La Perla at the River Market in New Westminster, it is scheduled for June 6, 2012 at 7 pm, see http://citycaucus.com/2012/05/repurposing-pattullo-bridge-the-logical-choice/. The problems with 20th street have been rolled into the master transportation plan. Several suggestions were made by Elmer Rudolph and Andrea Francis including reference to the proposed Stormont connector, the south perimeter road and routing of traffic around New Westminster. Several people suggested the necessity of a Metro Vancouver regional transportation plan and the need for more public transit.
4. City to build civic centre office tower without a financial partner: The City of New Westminster announced that it will be be proceeding with plans to build an office tower at the future civic centre site after its partner pulled out of the office tower project; the City of New Westminster is preparing to borrow $59 million so it can build the office tower above its future civic centre.
Convinced that the office tower is a critical component of the downtown revitalization and economic development efforts, city council has agreed to proceed with construction of the $33 million office tower. The Uptown Property Group had agreed to partner with the city and build the office tower, but later withdrew from the project.
Mayor Wayne Wright said there is an overwhelming need for Class A office space in the downtown and is a compatible use to the convention and cultural facilities in the civic centre. Bill Zander announced that he found statistics that state that New Westminster has an abundance of Class A office space. Andrea Francis asked about the legal ramifications of the Uptown Property Group withdrawing from the agreement. It was reported that Royal Centre and the Royal Bank building have vacant space.
5. Resident’s Association guidelines meeting with city reps. (June 4, 2012): Elmer will be meeting with other residents’ association representatives and city hall officials on Monday June 3 at 7:00pm in Committee Room #2 at city hall, this will be the first of regularly scheduled meetings. Suggestions were made to provide public meeting places free of charge and to make the city more responsive to the needs of residents’ associations and to include residents’ associations input on the agenda for future meetings.
6. Summerfest at Grimston park: MaryAnn Mortenson announced that there will be a Summerfest event at Grimston park this year, the event is scheduled for July 14th 2012, it will be set up in the form of a community picnic with games, food vendors including the New Westminster Farmers’ Market. There will also be an outdoor screening of the movie “The Princess Bride”. More information will be available in the future. Volunteers would be greatly appreciated.
7. Additional Agenda Items:
Letter from west end resident, the resident wants changes to how the association is run and the way meetings are announced; the suggestion was that the meetings are held in secret and are controlled by a small group; Elmer Rudolph pointed out the problems associated with scheduling and organizing meetings, including the fact that the venue requires a month to month scheduling so the meetings would occur less that 4 weeks from booking with the church, the second restriction is finding topics for the meetings, normally we executive must come up with agenda items due to a lack of input from the west end community; notification is listed on the city page in the NewsLeader twice before each meeting, other residents’ associations give one notice; there are only two residents’ associations that are actively hosting meetings. There have been many attempts to increase turnout at meetings but all attempts have had limited success. There was a suggestion to impose time limits on topics but that may cause frustration as people wish to have their opinion heard. Mary Wilson suggested creating a non meeting event, volunteers would be appreciated and necessary to create such an event.
Mary Wilson reported that the 12 Street Music Festival will be held on August 5th 2012.
Adjourned: 8:40 pm.
Next meeting: tentatively scheduled for September 25, 2012 @ 7pm at Unity In Action Church.
Posted by West End