Sustainable Community Development Certificate, 2011
BA (Hist), 2002
A New Westminster city councilor is making his community more environmentally and socially sustainable.
Jonathan Cote was elected to council several years ago, at only 26 years old. He’d always been passionate about cities, and he saw the potential of New Westminster. He wanted to restore the downtown area to its “former glory.”
“There was a real desire for someone to come forward and talk about cities differently,” Cote says.
Sustainability has always been part of Cote’s platform, but a few years ago, he felt compelled to dig deeper into the issues he was facing around the council table. His search led him to SFU Continuing Studies’ Certificate in Sustainable Community Development.
“Sustainability is a word that is often overused, but rarely truly understood,” Cote says. “The program helps you dig down to what it really means and allows you to genuinely apply the principles of sustainability to urban issues.”
Cote’s work in the program helped him achieve results. In the last several years, he’s watched his city transform. Homelessness and crime have decreased, the city has become more walkable, a beautiful waterfront park has opened, a civic centre is in progress, and plans are underway to change a waterfront parkade, which will breathe new life into businesses along the water.
Over 7,000 new people have moved to New Westminster in the last eight years—even Cote has moved downtown with his wife and daughters.
“Years ago, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable moving into this neighbourhood…now, it’s much more family-friendly.”
Submitted by: Amy Robertson