Thursday, March 26

Dear New Westminster,

This past week has been one of the most trying weeks this community has ever faced. The COVID-19 crisis has affected people in many different ways, but it has affected us all. I have received countless emails, social media messages and phone calls since the crisis began and I have and will continue to read them all. This is the only way, during this period of physical distancing that I can stay in close connection with our community and truly understand the myriad of impacts the crisis is having. Please be patient and kind as I work to connect with all of you individually, but please continue to connect.

During this past week the entire city operation has shifted towards maintaining essential services and responding to the COVID-19 crisis. We have and will continue to take our direction from the provincial health officer. It is not our job as a city to be the provincial health officer, but it is our job to educate the community and help enforce the directives that come from Dr. Bonnie Henry. Staff from police, fire, bylaws, parking, communications and parks will be working hard to ensure our community is educated, understands and is following the orders from the provincial health officer.

Our focus right now has to be the health crisis and we are going to need everyone’s help. I need everyone to stay home as much as possible and limit trips out to only essential trips for work and shopping. Getting some fresh air for a walk in the neighbourhood is still important for our mental and physical health, but please practice safe social distancing and avoid busy locations and coming together in groups.

I know there are some expectations in the community for me to puff out my chest and act like “Super Man”, but that is not my leadership style. My goal and intention is to bring out the best in our council, city staff and community. We have so many diverse skills in our community and we are going to need to tap into all of them to get us through this. I want our city's response to this crisis to be thoughtful, compassionate, and effective. Together we can do this. Together we will get through this.


Jonathan Cote