Democracy in New West Matters: Call For a City-Wide Vote on Pro-High Rise Development Plan

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We the residents of New Westminster call on the City Council and Mayor of New Westminster to hold a city-wide referendum, a vote, to allow us as citizens and residents of this great city to VOTE on whether we want more high-rise towers, more population density, more traffic, congestion, noise and air pollution. 

The current city plan is to allow for a MASSIVE POPULATION INCREASE in the next 10 years. Some estimates have the population growing as much as 200-300% in the next 10 years alone. What!!??

We believe that the Metro Vancouver development plan has been pushed upon this city by forces that are not a part of this city. That is not democracy. We call on the city to finally address this controversial issue publicly and to stop putting all of this behind closed doors or in some "public hearing" in which less than 1% of 1% will ever attend or even know about. It is dishonest to say this has been voted on, because it has not, not even a little bit.

Here are some of the myths that the City Council is spreading to rationalize more high rises and more population density.

  • City Council says this is to increase affordable housing
  • This is not true. These units are luxury units and will start pricing at levels that most residents will not be able to afford. Supply for housing in New West is only going to climb higher and the ONLY way for the city to provide "affordable" rentals is to subsidize them. By allowing millionaire corporations to come into the city, make MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROFIT and then leave, is to live to the public. These luxury high rises are not designed to create affordable housing at all and they know it.

 

  • City Council says the public was advised about this through public hearings
  • This is also false because only 1% or less of the population goes to public hearings. To claim that "we have been advised" is not only a lie, it is a dangerous one - in that it is clear that the point is to usurp democracy and force feed this policy down our city's throats. Hearings are mostly attended by insiders and folks who have a special "interest" in a topic. THAT IS NOT DEMOCRACY. Not even close, especially regarding a policy that will affect the city for many, many years, most of our lifetimes in fact.

 

  • Some supporters like to argue that creating MASS URBAN CENTERS ARE GOOD FOR THE PLANET.
    • This is the most dangerous lie of all. On almost every level, high density populations are not good for anyone, not good for people, for health, for the environment, for wildlife, no one.
    • Urbanisation is detrimental to mental health (numerous research prove this beyond a doubt).
    • Concentrations of sewage and air pollution, not to mention pollution in general, concentrates and enters the environment at high, more dangerous levels.
    • Higher density of traffic creates mass air pollution for the people living there, even if transit is effective.
    • Research also shows that people living in urban environments are less likely to want to protect the environment and in some research are even more likely to pollute or use MORE RESOURCES than their suburban and rural counterparts.
    • Creating mass urban centres is only a rationalization for more growth and its real intention is to concentrate labor so that more money and profits can be created. 
    • Overpopulation and mass immigration are the true problems and creating MORE MASS URBAN CENTRES is not solving anything.
    • Lastly, Democracy matters - people should get to decide what type of community they create. When politicians take over the process and dictate their ideas onto the people, this is not democracy. The "urbanist" Mayor Cote is a great example of a politician who has clearly decided he loves "urban" environments and wants us to live in one, whether we vote on that or not?

The current city council has made its intentions clear - they love high rises and they want to increase the population of the city to fulfill their campaign promises. In the end, this entire plan is to funnel millions of dollars into select development corporations and into the upper investment and professional class of this region. Make no mistake about it, this is all about money, when it should be about DEMOCRACY. 

Sign our petition today and call on the city council to stop selling our city to the highest bidder, and demand that they HOLD A CITY WIDE VOTE ON THE DEVELOPMENT PLAN. A straight up Yes or No referendum on the current plan. Democracy is what we believe in and nothing short of a democracy will do. 

There are better development options out there - as has been proven in various parts of Europe and even some very livable and beautiful mid-sized communities in the United States. A height restriction is an intelligent option. Density restrictions are also intelligent policy. However in New West, it seems the almighty dollar is king. Whatever brings in the most MONEY seems to be the top priority. Well, we say ENOUGH!! 

It is time that we return to democracy and require that our city hold a vote on this plan. No more telling us things that are simply not true. Hold a vote and let us decide our fate. If not, then how can the city council and Mayor claim any credibility whatsoever? 

For more information on who we are - please see our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/NewWestminsterCitizens


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