NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – New Westminster Chamber of Commerce, Queen’s Park Residents’ Association, and Royal City Youth Soccer Club came together today to provide their support for bringing a Whitecaps FC USL PRO team to New Westminster in 2015.
The Chamber of Commerce announced survey results of 80.3 per cent in favour of the initiative from its member businesses. Queen’s Park Residents’ Association, which represents residents of the residential area immediately adjacent to Queen’s Park, reported 58 per cent of members voted in favour of the proposal. The executive board of Royal City Youth Soccer Club – New Westminster’s largest sports organization consisting of 1,200 youth registrants – also formalized their support by passing a unanimous motion.
- READ: New Westminster Police Department issues statement on potential impact of Queen's Park Stadium proposal re: crime, traffic, and parking
“The New Westminster Chamber of Commerce is excited that the City of New Westminster and Vancouver Whitecaps are in discussions to locate a USL team in our city,” says Jamie Woods, New Westminster Chamber of Commerce Director. “We are of the view that, so long as the associated costs are reasonable, the proposal would be beneficial to the business community in New Westminster.”
Watch Wednesday's press conference in Queen's Park
Woods says Chamber members gave many reasons for supporting the proposal, including the Whitecaps strong community work, having a revenue source to fund repairs at Queen’s Park, boosting the city’s profile, and providing a family outing on game day. Members also indicated that they expect the City to accommodate New Westminster baseball elsewhere in the city.
“Many Queen’s Park residents’ are excited by the prospect of walking to pro soccer games with their families,” said David Brett, President, Queen’s Park Residents’ Association. “But across the board people are expecting that traffic, parking, and youth sports issues will be addressed.”
Royal City Youth Soccer Club’s President, Guy Ciprian added “Our club supports bringing the USL franchise to New Westminster. We see a lot of benefits to our soccer community and the community at large. We understand that community support to keep the stadium is very high and the presence of a Whitecaps USL Pro team could be that higher-level commercial tenant the stadium needs to justify the upgraded costs. We want to encourage city council to move forward with this proposal and to enter into a financially responsible agreement.”
The New Westminster Police Department also released a statement today in response to queries about the potential impact of the Queen's Park Stadium proposal on areas that affect policing and community safety. "In general the NWPD has been involved with numerous community activities and events that are both new and growing within our community," the release stated. "From large road closures or mobile events such as parades the NWPD works to ensure that community impact is minimal while the event has every chance of success. Events such as Shown N Shine, Pride Festival, Food Cart festival, Uptown Live and many others show that by working together we can minimize impacts and allow for successful events to occur."
As the September 15 deadline approaches, New Westminster residents and businesses are encouraged to write to Mayor and Council with their feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.