Thursday, May 14

Dear New Westminster,

Last week the premier announced the Restart BC Plan, which was welcomed news after several weeks of positive health numbers related to COVID-19. I think all British Columbians deserve credit for taking COVID-19 seriously and for our collective community response to this crisis. We have been very fortunate to have the excellent leadership and guidance from Dr. Bonnie Henry, whose calm, clear and thoughtful approach has helped and will continue to help our province get through this health crisis. I also commend our provincial leaders for giving Dr. Bonnie Henry the space and opportunity to play the important role that she has played. Giving up space doesn’t always come second nature to elected officials, but it deserves to be recognized when it occurs.

Restarting the province and our city is going to take some time and will happen in phases in the months to come. The city is currently working on and refining our plans to resume city amenities that have been affected. First and foremost this work will be guided by ensuring we are protecting the health of our residents and employees. Secondly, we need to ensure the resumption of services is done in a financially sustainable way. Our city has been hit financially by the crisis and we need to take a measured approach to our spending this year. I know some residents will be frustrated by this process, but we are committed to working hard to get back to providing the important amenities our community cares about.

I know there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future which can create fear and anxiety in the community. I think these are natural feelings, as none of us can predict what is going to happen over the next year. Still it is important that we don’t let fear and anxiety guide us out of this crisis. Instead we need to focus on hope and community to help us build a stronger city. There are going to be many residents and businesses that are going to struggle during this time and we need to step up as a community to provide support in whatever way we can. We also can’t be afraid to try and do things differently. Sometimes a crisis can lead to an opportunity and I am hopeful we can take this time to envision a gentler, kinder and more sustainable city that we can all work towards building together.  


Jonathan Cote