WERA General Meeting January 27 2015

W. E. R. A. General Meeting;
Email: mywestend@telus.net
January 27, 2015: commenced 7:02 p.m.
                                Chair: Elmer Rudolph;      Recorder: Gavin McLeod
                                Number of attendees: 11
  1. Approval of minutes of previous meetings: Motion to approve minutes of September 23, 2014. Moved by Joanne Dawe and seconded by Mary Wilson.
  2. Additional Agenda Items: Repurposing of city infrastructure.
  3. Inspector Phil Eastwood of New Westminster Police Services: Inspector Eastwood appeared at the meeting to gather information for the New Westminster Police Department Strategic Plan, he also responded to questions from the audience. There has been printed and online questionnaires for citizens to answer questions related to police operations. Inspector Eastwood stated that his intention was to determine the number one priority for the New Westminster Police based on citizen input. Not surprisingly the majority of the audience was of the opinion that traffic was the major problem in the west end as well as the rest of New Westminster. Some questions were directed at the perceived lack of traffic enforcement. Generally there is a very favourable opinion of the New Westminster Police Department and its members. There was a request to have a system to advise of traffic congestion spots to allow drivers to circumvent these problems Inspector Eastwood announced an app for crime prevention similar to the See Click Fix app supplied by the city he did not give a date for availability. Inspector Eastwood informed the audience about the truck inspectors and the work they do to ensure truck safety in New Westminster. A member of the audience reported that there has been truck traffic on 20th Street which is not a truck route. Pedestrian interaction with drivers was mentioned as a concern noting unsafe behaviour by both parties. Parking in the vicinity of schools was noted as a problem due to volume and improper behaviour by parents when dropping off or picking up their children. There was mention of concern about police requesting personal information when it did not seem to be necessary. There was a request that the photo of Michael Jackson with the New Westminster Police be removed from the New Westminster Museum as it is an embarrassment to New Westminster. There was a suggestion that the New Westminster Police engage in more public outreach than the Soccer School.
  4. City’s Response To Letter Requesting Protection of Public Green Spaces: Mary Wilson and WERA sent letters to City council to request protection of existing city green spaces. Mary Wilson specifically mentioned boulevard green space as it is sometimes used as a storage space by contractors and mentioned a request by a home owner to purchase city property to add to his lot size. Mayor Jonathan Cote announced that the city owns some “unusual pieces of land” and given the city’s built-out nature, it could look at creating green space or parks in some of these spaces.
  5. Status of Stewardson Way Crosswalk Construction: Elmer Rudolph provided an update on the status of the replacement crosswalk to crossing Stewardson Way to provide access to and from River Drive. There is money in the 2015 budget. The BC Government wants more information on traffic flow on Stewardson, there is expected to be an announcement by February. Elmer Rudolph spoke to David Johnston of Fjord Equipment about pedestrian overpasses. Fjord equipment has manufactured aluminum overpasses and estimated that a 10 foot wide overpass crossing 6th Ave and Stewardson Way would probably cost about $300,000 this is in sharp contrast to the Translink estimate of $9,000,000.
  6. Status Update on changes to traffic light at 8th Ave and 20th Street: David Guiney reported on the situation stating that our original request for a 4 way red light was not doable due to traffic congestion problems. He informed the meeting that the walk signal timing will be increased. This was the first report from city staff as the engineering staff has not been informative regarding the details of the modifications to the timing at the intersection.
  7. Discussion of Upcoming Transportation Plebiscite And Request From City to Support The Yes Side By Way of Creating A Motion In Support Of The Yes Side: Gavin McLeod attended the previous Residence Association Forum meeting due to the unavailability of Elmer Rudolph. The representatives were asked to have the RAs support the yes side in order to ensure better transit in the future. The city provided a letter with a suggested motion contained within. The motion is as follows: "Be it resolved that the West End Residents' Association endorse the Translink Mayors' Council Vision and Investment Plan and support the "Yes" position in the upcoming Transportation and Transit Referendum with other New Westminster partners." The motion was read by Elmer Rudolph and seconded by Gavin McLeod to facilitate discussion. One point of view was that WERA should remain neutral as this was not just a WERA or even New Westminster issue and it will be individual secret ballots that determine the fate of the Referendum. There was concern that we have not been provided with the final draft of the referendum. There was concern that City Council was attempting to influence the voters of the West End. Eventually the question was called and the motion was defeated.
  8. ActBiped Report: Mary Wilson reported .The MTP (Master Transportation Plan) is available online and at the New Westminster Public Library, The first detailed section is on walkability. Jane’s walk this year will include participation by Tourism New Westminster and Parks Culture and Recreation. The stated goal is to beat Vancouver in number of walks.
  9. Community Policing Committee Report: Gavin McLeod reported on the meeting of January 15, 2017; there has been in increase in theft of vehicles and theft from vehicles.
  10. Residents’ Association Forum Meeting Report: Gavin McLeod attended as Elmer Rudolph could not. Topics covered were proposed task forces on transportation, affordable housing, Royal Columbian expansion and public engagement. Other major topics were the pipeline expansion and the proposed coal port expansion.
  11. Additional Agenda Item: The subject of repurposing of city infrastructure was raised specifically the repurposing of school portables which should become available after new school construction projects are completed. This would be of specific benefit to residents of the west end as there are no city facilities available for public use.

Meeting adjourned at: 9:04 p.m.
Next meeting: Tentatively Tuesday March 24, 2015 at Unity in Action Church from 7pm to 9pm.

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