City of New Westminster welcomes refugees
New Westminster - With the refugee crisis unfolding as a result of the civil war in Syria, a number of refugees will be settling in New Westminster.
The Immigrant Services Society of BC estimates that of the 2,000 refugees coming to the province, about 100 will settle in New Westminster. To date, the city has received 49 Privately Sponsored Refugees, the second highest number by municipality in the province.
“New Westminster is a vibrant and diverse city that steps up when the call for help is made,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “I encourage residents to welcome our new arrivals. Let’s reach out to them and invite them into all aspects of our community.”
Businesses, organizations, and residents have inquired as to how they can welcome refugees to the community and assist in their settlement and integration. The City has prepared information which can be found on the City’s official website. This information details ways to make a donation, volunteer as an interpreter or mentor, provide accommodation, employment, products, and services.
The City of New Westminster Multiculturalism Advisory Committee (MAC) is actively exploring ways of assisting the Syrian refugees. Councillor Chuck Puchmayr, Chair of the MAC, stated that they are planning for a Syrian Refugee Connect Day in March 2016.
“This will be a welcoming, fun and informative event,” said Councillor Puchmayr, “It will incorporate a resource fair, orientation sessions, children’s activities, food, and music.”
The Welcoming and Inclusive New Westminster (WINS) Local Immigration Partnership Council, which is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, is planning for the long-term settlement and integration of new immigrants and refugees.
“There is a strong foundation in place for receiving the Syrian refugees and a history of collaboration and partnership which will be instrumental in meeting their varied needs and enabling them to successfully integrate into the community,” said John Stark, City of New Westminster Senior Social Planner and Chair of WINS.
The City will continue to provide regular updates on its official website with regard to Syrian refugee settlement in New Westminster and the ways that businesses, organizations and residents can contribute and make a difference in the lives of those arriving in our city.