Mayor, New Westminster
Manager of Economic Development & Communications, New Westminster
Modern businesses rely on affordable, reliable access to high-speed internet. New Westminster has invested in a major infrastructure project to accommodate those needs.
As western Canada’s oldest city, New Westminster has much to offer in terms of heritage charm, but its history in the region — and resulting connections with B.C.’s Lower Mainland — make it uniquely well-positioned to support business development. The city is at the geographic centre of Metro Vancouver, which makes commuting to downtown Vancouver a breeze. With five SkyTrain stations, the city offers strong access to the area’s rapid transit systems.
A growing number of businesses are moving into the area. In an effort to meet these businesses’ connectivity needs, the city embarked on an ambitious, open-access fibre internet network called BridgeNet. The city is nearly done laying fibre for the network, and is in the process of rolling out access to local businesses and multi dwelling buildings through a variety of internet service providers.
Cooperation between policy leaders and business partners key to the city’s economic success
New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté and Blair Fryer, the city’s Manager, Economic Development and Communications, are a part of the collaborative team responsible for developing BridgeNet. “We encourage competition between internet service providers offering access to the network,” says Coté. “This will, in turn, translate to lower costs for businesses and individuals.”
The city’s economic development plan centers on supporting optimal growth conditions for all businesses, but especially for sectors with strong forecasted growth — namely tech, creative, health care, and education.
Fryer highlights the collaborative nature of the city’s economic development strategy. “When we tackle a challenge, we’re much stronger when our approach has been informed by thorough consultation with our partners, including our Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement Associations,” he says. “We work hand-in-hand with our partners to build a dynamic, resilient local economy, and that’s better for all of us.”