Councillor Jonathan Cote ready to battle New Westminster mayor Wayne Wright
New Westminster councillor Lorrie Williams is somewhat torn.
She’s supporting her council colleague Jonathan Cote, who wants to become the next mayor. But at the same time, she also likes the incumbent, Wayne Wright.
“These are two good men, and you know what? If they both run, one of them will not be on council next year. And that upsets me,” Williams told the Straight in a phone interview.
According to her, she’ll be in a predicament if Wright decides to campaign for a fifth term in the fall election.
“It will definitely cause a dilemma for me,” Williams said.
Wright is abroad on vacation, returning early next month. He may announce his plans around that time.
“When he left, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do,” she said.
According to Williams, she has spoken to Wright about her endorsement of Cote.
“The mayor feels that Jonathan is a very good councillor, and if he were not to run, he would be quite happy to support him [Cote],” Williams said.
She and Wright have worked together for 12 years on council, since they first won election in 2002. Cote came onboard in 2005.
“They’re amicable. They’re friends,” Williams said of the two. “Now it’s up to Wayne to sort of decide.”
Counc. Bill Harper is also backing Cote. If elected mayor, Cote will present a youthful face for New Westminster, an old city undergoing much change. Wright has a proven track record in running the city.
“One has the wisdom and experience, and the other has the knowledge and the enthusiasm,” Williams said about Wright and Cote, respectively.
According to Williams, Wright’s legacy is secure. The Anvil Centre, a new civic facility opening next month, was built during his tenure. It includes a performing-arts theatre and convention space.
The much-admired Westminster Pier Park is another project he can be proud of. Plaza 88, a massive residential and commercial development wrapped around New Westminster SkyTrain Station, was also constructed under Wright.
“These are big, beautiful things that he has done,” Williams said. “The question in his mind, I think, is, ‘Are there a few other things I want to do?’ ”