Community Advisory Assembly

The application period for the new Community Advisory Assembly has now closed.

The application period ran September 25 through October 31, 2023, and more than 200 applications were received. Recruitment was extended until November 13 for applicants ages 19 and under.

Member selection for the Assembly is underway, and selected members will be notified by email later in November.

The Community Advisory Assembly will include a diverse group of New Westminster community members to talk about City policies and projects that will impact residents, and provide advice and recommendations back to staff and Council. The City is trying a new model for committee-style public engagement that:

  • includes a larger group of residents than our traditional committees (approximately 36 members),
  • meets more regularly than most other committees (monthly meetings),
  • focuses on dialogue and deliberation, 
  • includes a membership that mirrors the overall demographic profile of the city, and
  • offers a variety of supports to participants to help address barriers to participation.

The Assembly’s role is to advise City Council and City staff across all departments on plans and actions related to Council’s Strategic Priorities, and other current City projects, plans and policies.

The Community Advisory Assembly will be established in 2023 as a pilot project that will run for approximately one year. 

The Assembly is only one of the ways the City seeks community input and feedback on its projects, policies and programs. You will find details about all our engagements by visiting our website Be Heard New West:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • All current residents of New Westminster are welcome and encouraged to apply. Membership of the Community Advisory Assembly will mirror the diversity of our city, as well as a diversity of lived experiences. You do not need to be a Canadian citizen, or over the age of 18 to apply (youth are welcome!).

    Applications are now being accepted online.
    Paper applications will also be available soon. 

  • The Assembly will include a maximum of 36 members, who will be selected based on demographic characteristics such as the area of New West where they live, their age group, gender identity, housing tenure (renter or owner), visible minority, Indigenous identity, and a diversity of lived experiences. The member selection will be “blind”, meaning that all identifying information (names, contact information) will be removed from the selection and members will be chosen only based on their demographic profile. Staff who are compiling the application information will not be involved in the selection.

    The application period for the Assembly is expected to run from late September to early November, with member selection following in mid-November. Selected members will receive a letter of invitation. Applicants who are not selected could be drawn for the next term of the Assembly, if the program is continued.

    Note: These timelines are estimates and could change depending on the number and diversity of applications received.

  • The group will discuss and provide advice to the City on a variety of topics. There will be a focus on current City projects that are expected to directly affect the day-to-day lives of New Westminster residents.

    Some examples include Council’s strategic priorities (community belonging, housing, transportation, economy, infrastructure), the process to develop a new City logo, and the Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan, which guides all parks and recreation investments and decisions. More details on what projects and topics the Assembly will discuss will be shared as they are available.

  • Project teams at the City that bring their projects to the Community Advisory Assembly for discussion will be expected to plan for how to incorporate the Assembly’s input. The Assembly will be led by a professional facilitator, who will work with project teams to ensure their questions for the Assembly are meaningful and applicable both for participants and the project.

    Project staff will also be expected to report back to the Assembly and the community how the Assembly’s input was incorporated and/or influenced the outcomes.
  • (such as Affordable Housing and Childcare; Sustainable Transportation; Facilities, Infrastructure and Public Realm, etc.)

    Many of the City’s committees were structured around the previous Council’s Strategic Plan. Following the most recent local election in October 2022, the new Council went through a strategic planning process to identify new priorities for this term (2022-2026).

    As part of this planning process, Council asked City staff to explore potential changes to the structure of the City’s advisory committees. Staff researched other potential models, and several options, along with pros and cons, were considered and discussed with Council. Advisory committee members were also consulted and their feedback was shared with Council.

  • Advisory committee members, City staff, and Council have all shared feedback that the City’s traditional advisory committee structure was not entirely satisfactory and could be improved to better meet the needs of participants and the City. Committee members, in particular, shared that they want to be able to provide the City with more meaningful input into projects, earlier in their development, and that they want to be able to see if and how their input influenced the outcome of the project.

    The Assembly model – where members form a representative cross-section of the public and deliberate to find common ground in providing advice to government – has been used in BC, Alberta, Ontario, and internationally in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and others.

  • (such as meeting frequency, length of term, etc.)

    The term of the Assembly is for a year, starting in December 2023 or January 2024. We ask that the residents interested in being a part of this Assembly be willing to attend 10 meetings a year, one every month except for summer (July and August), as well as a kick-off dinner with Council to launch the new group.

    Meetings will run for 3 to 4 hours each, and will be held in person. Because the meetings will focus on discussion and dialogue, a hybrid format is not possible at this time.

    A variety of supports will be offered to make your participation easier, including reimbursement of any direct expenses, stipends for childcare / elder care, and compensation for low-income members or those who must miss paid work to attend meetings.