Troy Hunter’s Ideal City

To find out more about New Westminster Mayoral and City Council candidates during the 2018 municipal elections, we asked them one question: what does your ideal city look like?

Troy Hunter is running for City Council, and this is his answer:

My ideal city looks like this…

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Figure 1: Potential Aerial Tramway connecting Queensborough to Uptown and Downtown

As a candidate for City Council with New Westminster, I am going to keep my ideas focused on #NewWest and in doing so, I will be drawing upon my historical roots and places I have lived and visited. My answer to housing will be at the bottom of the page.

  1. I am influenced a bit by what I saw there an around the world. In particular, I am in awe with the heritage conservation that has gone into the Old Quebec City. It’s a walled city that has more than 400 years of history; I wish we had that kind of heritage, we don’t but we have tremendous history and opportunities. I will write a few brief points about what I saw and how I think those could be transformed into what New Westminster is.
    1. Old Quebec City has five million visitors each year and two-thirds of them are in the summertime. The other one-third of visitors are there for winter including the activities that go with the cold season.
      1. New Westminster has tremendous tourism potential and I want us to be the next Granville Island or Steveston.

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        Figure 2: New Westminster is going to be the next Granville Island, the next Steveston.

      2. With proper access, our waterfront on Queensborough should have paved bike paths, we could have our own biking like on the Rhine River in Germany.

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        Figure 3: Beautiful arched bridge to Heidelberg Germany with boat passing under.

    2. There are cruise ship terminals bringing shiploads of eager tourists to purchase goods from the local artisans and to partake in fine dining, foody-ism, stay at the hotels, Bed and Breakfast (B&Bs), etc.
      1. New Westminster has much to offer with its own port on the Fraser River,
      2. We can develop a regional tourism strategy that involves the riverfront including kayaking, canoeing, water taxis and tour boats.

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        Figure 4: River tourism in Bangkok, Thailand.

    3. There is a funicular which is like a diagonal elevator that helps people get up or down the hill where Quebec City is situated. Likewise, Hong Kong has an outdoor escalator.
      1. We could have our very own attraction and solution to transportation to Queensborough. We do have an elevator at riverside to Columbia Street. How can we bring people uptown and vice versa to downtown?

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        Figure 5: The Funicular at Old Quebec City.

    4. Quebec City has the Videotron Centre which is a $50 million dollar building that houses 18,000 people and works for everything from NHL hockey games to major concerts.
      1. What we could use is a major events centre that could double as a sound stage for movie productions when not being used as a major events centre. If only we had the space…
      2. We need to reinvigorate Massey Theatre as it is a gem in the rough, with a makeover, new beautiful cladding and improved inside, we can turn it into a draw attracting tourists and locals alike to ongoing and programmed events. I would love to see some Aboriginal theatre in there as well.

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        Figure 6: Aboriginal Tourism facility in Seattle, Washington.

    5. There is a sense of pride in the people that live there at Quebec, the Fur Traders especially the Courer des Bois (Runners of the Woods), Les Filles Des Rois (the so-called King’s Daughters), the Carignans Saliere Regiment (the Soldiers), the colonists, the French and the Irish immigrants that started New France and of course, the local Indigenous people, the Iroquois (all of the above my ancestors).
      1. We have the Sappertons, the first Capital City, the gold rush, the first hospital in BC and much more.
  2. In addition, I have resided in Bangkok and Jakarta, and what I saw in those Mega-Cities will also be described and how we can learn from them and incorporate such ideas into our lovely City of New Westminster. I’ve toured a few places across the Pacific Ocean to Fiji, New Zealand, Vanuatu, India, China, the Great Wall and Hong Kong, Thailand, Myanmar, Hawaii, and also been to Europe including Amsterdam, Bonn, Cologne, Brussels, and of course, Paris.  I’ve been to Ixtapa Mexico, the American Southwest, New York City and other parts of America, Arizona, North and South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, New York City, Montana, Reno and Las Vegas. In all of my travels, I have seen things which also shape my ideas about My Ideal City, my birthplace: New Westminster.
    1. The Rhine River in Germany has a whole industry of ships that bring goods and people up and down the waterway.  The ships are specially designed for passing under the many bridges that cross the river.
    2. The Seine River in Paris, France is also another example of we could do with our Royal City.

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      Figure 7: River Seine at Paris, France with tour boat under low bridge.

    3. In Asia, there are markets that spring up overnight and disappear during the day for vehicle traffic, such as a night market in Bangkok.  There are also many malls and even outdoor places where small food stalls (warungs) are busy cooking up and serving a variety of foods from many different places such as Jakarta and elsewhere.
      1. New Westminster can have its own night market with food stalls, little pop-up stores selling wares, etc.
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        Figure 8: Street food stall in Bangkok.

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        Figure 9: A very small warung in Victoria, BC offering take away indonesian food.

    4. On my visit to India, I was so fortunate to have gone up to Darjeeling.  I travelled from Kolkata by train and then jeep up the twisting mountain road past tea plantations to about 3,000 metres above sea level where I had the chance to even see Mount Everest. On my way back down, I was so ever fortunate that the small group I was with (two other Bangkok law firm interns) to obtain tickets for the “Toy Train” which is an UNESCO heritage site. The little train uses small gauge railway tracks and is a very nice experience indeed.
  3. The key to development is infrastructure, I will also describe what I believe we should be doing to fix our infrastructure to make New Westminster the ideal city I envision.
  4. Lastly, I grew up in a small town in the East Kootenay’s: Cranbrook BC.  It is close to historic Fort Steele, the St. Eugene Mission and St. Mary’s Indian Reserve (now known as A’qam First Nation) and also the Bavarian City of the Rockies: Kimberly BC.  With an abundance of outdoor activities in both summer and winter, I learned a lot about things like skiing, hunting, fishing, and even tourism.
    1. I obtained a Two-Year University Diploma from the University of Victoria, Faculty in Fine Arts where I studied Cultural Resource Management.  I have the Diploma in Cultural Conservation. After graduating with my CRM education, I developed and opened the Ktunaxa/Kinbasket Interpretive Centre at the historic St. Eugene Mission which was an Indian Industrial School (Residential School) until it closed in 1970

Transportation Infrastructure Vision for the Future

  • I would much rather see a new 6-lane Sapperton Bar Crossing, with rehabilitated Pattullo Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists only, keeping trucks/commuters on the freeway and out of New Westminster.
  • An alternative is to build a tunnel so that traffic accessing the Pattullo is bypassing downtown, uptown and Sapperton.
  • I like the idea of a commuter aerial tramway or even a trolley like Toronto style, connecting pedestrians and cyclists to Queensborough and Uptown and Downtown New Westminster. We can have low bridges and need to insist the tug boats go the way Germany did with lower squatting boats.

A Vision for a new city, a Vision for New Westminster

  • If we dissect our municipal commercial and even residential zoning into categories such as for example, Waterfront, Victorian Era, Fifties Town Square at the Hospital District, Neo Modern, and Post Modern, etc. then we can have a strategy to rebuild according to those types.  By doing this, it allows for the accommodation, the means to have both old and new in a mixed fashion but in a controlled way so as to make sense out of it all. This type of thing has been done already, take for instance the many Chinatown’s across the globe.image10
  • A Fifties Town Square could be made as a faux “memory town” and situated near facilities where the Elders live, in particular, those that are dealing with dementia.  This is actually a trend beginning here in North America.

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    Figure 10: A play showcasing the Fifties.

  • I want us to build more stone pathways like the one at top of the stairs at the New Westminster courthouse, a place called Queens Court, it is reminiscent of old Europe.

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    Figure 11: New Westminster Courthouse with Begbie Statue, fountain and stairs (by Queen’s Court building).

  • In regards to tourism and activities for youth and children, we can connect zip lines that enhance activities in places such as Glenbrook Ravine Park or elsewhere in a suitable location.
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    Figure 12: Ziplining.

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    Figure 13: Mount Baker with Burnaby in foreground.

  • I want to see community gardens extended to private property where homeowners are paired with approved gardeners, and rainwater is harvested to irrigate such gardens.  City Hall can provide tax incentives and our local “farmers markets” could greatly benefit.

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    Figure 14: Troy Hunter inspecting native plants in Richmond on Lulu Island.

Housing

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Figure 15: New Westminster streetscape of row townhouses with Poplar Island in background.

We need to:

  • Address reconciliation with QayQayt First Nation and offer concrete solutions including Poplar Island;
  • be able to reduce commuter traffic through our city;
  • provide affordable rent to all people;
  • ensure that property owners see the equity in their homes is protected and growing;
  • offer a range of solutions from more mixed-use zoning such as light industrial with residential, consider micro-housing solutions where people can buy into new models for instance shared kitchens but independent suites of 300 square footage or so;
  • create community co-op housing and if possible re-invigorate the “worker bee” concept similar to habitat for humanity; find the ways and means to drastically reduce the cost of building homes while maintaining appropriate and adequate housing solutions that fit the character of New Westminster and enhance our city including more amenities, art spaces, artisan studios, etc.;
  • live and work in the community and decrease the commute elsewhere;
  • build malls with their own parking lots and hi-rise condo’s above;
  • have public access to a high rise rooftop for dining and lookout over the Fraser River;
  • maintain and enhance Queen’s Park Heritage Conservation Area and include a heritage wall so people know where it is and yet attractive and appropriate;
  • make it possible for a tourism operator to provide horse and buggy tours in select areas, operating out of Queen’s Park;
  • connect Queensborough to the rest of New Westminster;
  • build great bike paths at Queensborough and make it accessible for all;
  • protect our health and environment and make sure asbestos, rodents, and insects are dealt with properly for public health and safety.
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Figure 16: The walled city of Old Quebec.

 

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