VOICE supports open public process on high school site question

Below is the Voice press release that was released on Saturday.

New Westminster, B.C. – VOICE New Westminster is expressing full support for an open public process regarding where to site the new high school, and they’re urging the city to be part of that process.

VOICE President Neil Powell says all of the VOICE candidates were committed to transparency, accountability and public process during the last civic election and the organization remains committed to these values.

“Public process is essential to achieving a solution that is valued and supported by all stakeholders,” Powell said. “Achieving the best possible solution on the high school site is also going to take participation by all levels of government.”

Powell points to strong feelings in the community that all levels of government in the past – municipal, provincial and federal – have played a role in bringing about the current situation on the high school site.

Powell says there are also questions in the community relating to the federal government’s use of the site during the second world war, when barracks were apparently built on the site, which may have obscured the site’s past use as a cemetery.

Likewise, when the province and the city carried out the original land exchange, the cemetery was shut down but not properly decommissioned.

“The community wants to be part of the discussion and they have questions they want answered,” Powell said. “They want to see the new high school built, with all levels of government working together, and they want to see it built without losing existing amenities like the Massey Theatre.”

At the November 24th meeting of the New Westminster school board it was announced that a public meeting will take place on December 8th at 6:30 pm in the Douglas Fir Room at Century House, 620 Eighth Street, New Westminster.

Voice New Westminster was formed in January 2007 to support a broadly-based, non-partisan slate of candidates for mayor, council and school board. Voice New Westminster is comprised of residents from all parts of the city sharing a common vision for a revitalized and sustainable New Westminster.