Recently there has been a lot of coverage in the local papers about the city's plan to borrow money for the completion of the civic centre and office tower building in the downtown core.
Most articles mention that if you are in favour of the city's plan, then the approval process does not require you to take any action. However, I have decided to take action by writing this letter to show that there is support for this plan.
One of the arguments that has been raised against continuing to develop the office tower is that there is vacant office space currently available in the city - some of it Class A. I do not know what makes office space Class A, but the proposed tower is not equivalent to office space in other locations such as the Royal City Centre mall.
I work in the technology industry. Image is important for companies in the technology industry and in many other industries. These companies need to appear successful and forward-looking in order to attract customers and employees. A trendy, new office building located above a civic centre, in a revitalized downtown core on the B.C. greenway, and with nearby SkyTrain access would enable companies to showcase their progressive nature and community focus to clients and employees. This office tower will attract companies, which might not otherwise consider New Westminster as a location for their business, to our city.
The key reason to continue with this project is that it is an important step towards creating a vibrant downtown core in our city. Many younger couples like myself and my husband have recently moved to New Westminster because it is affordable, central and evolving. The downtown residents and businesses, along with city staff, city council and developers have put a lot of effort, energy and money into transforming a downtown that was known throughout the Lower Mainland as a dangerous place best avoided, into a neighbourhood that is attracting new businesses and new residents including young families. Many like myself do not want to live in a bedroom community. We want to live in a lively community that honours its past and embraces the future.
I am in support of the city continuing to build the new civic centre and office tower because this building can play an integral role in shaping our downtown into a place that is thriving, a place that we can be proud of. That's the vision that drew me here. That's the vision that I believe in. That's the vision we should support.
I am the current president of the New Westminster Downtown Residents' Association, but the views in this letter are my own.
Jocelyn Smith, New Westminster