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The Record • Wednesday, January 4, 2012 • A03

◗IN THE NEWS What’s ahead for the teachers’ dispute? ◗P5 Queen’s Park Foundation gets new director ◗P8

The Year Ahead: Big changes coming to city in 2012 ◗ continued from page 1

that was a job well done,” said Cook. “It was creative thinking and a better use of the space. Now we have one of the best fields in the city. “I see a similar challenge with the Canada Games Pool, which I consider the flagship in our system. … It’s almost 50 years old, and I think we have to be creative in finding a way to upgrade that facility.” Also scheduled for completion in 2012 is an expansion to the Queensborough Community Centre, which will feature a police office, library facilities and child-care space. Back on the mainland, Westminster Pier Park is also scheduled to open, and further on down Columbia Street, a 10-screen Landmark Cinemas theatre at Plaza 88 is scheduled to open, marking the first time in years that the Royal City will have first-run movie theatres. “I’m looking forward to the movie theatres,” said Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, back on council after a stint as provincial MLA and a health scare. “I think Plaza 88 has been a really creative project that makes New Westminster even more attractive for young people to come live here. “New Westminster has really changed, and it has become a very desirable place for people to want to come and live.” Puchmayr said while it’s nice for large companies like Thrifty’s and Safeway to set up shop in New Westminster, what the city has to continue to do is make sure small businesses still have a place in the city. “Local stores are an important economic driver, and, long-term, we have to make sure they can continue to succeed,” he said. Also worrying to Puchmayr is the fact that by the end of 2012, the new tolled Port Mann Bridge is scheduled to open. “Traffic is always an issue in the city, and when the new Port Mann opens, there’s no doubt that people will drive out of their way to avoid the $3 toll. … I’m expecting traffic chaos when the Port Mann opens.” Puchmayr said the city has been forward-thinking when it comes to traffic, holding on to key pieces of land along the 10th Avenue corridor so that the city continues to have a voice when the province starts talking about more expansion, most notably along that 10th Avenue stretch as a connector to an expanded Pattullo Bridge. “We need to have a voice at the table,” said Puchmayr. “If New Westminster is going to get more traffic and more gridlock, we need to have a voice at the table.” New Westminster MLA Dawn Black agrees that traffic is an ongoing problem in the Royal City. “I think that it’s not going to get any better until we do something about increased rapid transit options,” said Black. “We really need to see major investment in public transit. … In the meantime, I expect we’ll see more traffic in the city.” Black, who announced in 2011 that she won’t be running again in the next provincial election – scheduled for May 2013 – is heading into her final calendar year as

Photos by Larry Wright/THE RECORD

Bright future: Above, Plaza 88 in New Westminster will soon see the opening of a 10-screen Landmark Cinemas movie theatre. Below: the Pattullo Bridge will probably see more traffic by the end of the year when the tolled Port Mann Bridge opens. MLA. “I want to make sure our riding association is in good shape,” she said, adding that she fully supports Judy Darcy, the NDP candidate nominated to run for New Westminster. Of more immediate concern is the March 24 federal NDP leadership convention, where Black is supporting Brian Topp as the successor to Jack Layton, who passed away last summer. “I came out early in support of Brian, and that’s because I worked closely with him during coalition talks with the Liberals. … I have a great deal of confidence in Brian and his humanity. I think he’ll make a great leader.” Also with a keen eye on the federal NDP leadership race is Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian, who, as national caucus chair of the NDP, must remain neutral. “We have eight strong candidates, and I’m impressed with all eight,” he said. “When we do get our new leader, then we can move forward with working on narrowing the income gap in the country. “I think we’re seeing in case after case, record levels of debt, 90,000 jobs lost in the fall of 2011 alone and overall income falling two per cent in real terms. … These are the red flags that the government should be seeing.” Julian said that the federal Conservatives, now armed with a majority government, must institute more moderate policies to

address the income and poverty gap that is the reality for most Canadians. On an entirely different note, Julian did go out on a limb and say he sees some sporting greatness for several local teams. “I believe the New Westminster Salmonbellies will go out East and win the Mann Cup,” he said. “And I think the Canucks will win the Stanley Cup, so that will mean we’ll have all three champions (to go with the B.C. Lions winning the Grey Cup in 2011).” Black also makes the prediction that the

’Bellies will win that elusive 25th Mann Cup, but Cook isn’t willing to go out on that limb. “It’s going to be really difficult,” said Cook. “I know how hard it is to go out there and win, so what I can say is our teams need to be creative. … Here in the WLA, our strength is we’re trying to have seven strong teams. Out East, they have a twotier league, and what they end up with is three teams that are just absolutely stacked. That’s what we’re competing against, so that’s why we have to be creative.”

Only in New West Last week’s question Are you making any new year’s resolutions? YES 67% NO 33% This week’s question Are you happy with the way New Westminster is developing? Vote at: www.royalcityrecord.com

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Royal City Record January 4 2012  

Royal City Record January 4 2012

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