City Budget 2022

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Consultation has concluded

Project Update, January 25 2022: Thank you to all the community members who participated in the 2022 Budget Engagement and provided feedback through the most recent request for public comments on the final draft. Please visit the News Feed below for a response to the comments for Council from our Finance Department. 


Project Update, January 10 2022: At its January 10, 2022 regular meeting, New Westminster City Council received final public comments on the 2022-2026 Financial Plan and gave three readings to the budget bylaw. Click here to access the documents and recording from the meeting.

The 2022-2026 Draft Financial Plan has been prepared, based on a 4.4% property tax increase for 2022. Click here to watch a presentation about the Financial Plan from the December 13, 2021 Council meeting.


Project Update, October 18 2021: Survey results are now available. Click here for the full What We Heard Engagement Summary report. Click here for the verbatim survey comments. We have included a couple of the survey results charts here for quick access:


Every year, the City must adopt a five-year financial plan bylaw by May 15th as outlined by the Community Charter. The City of New Westminster is starting the process of developing the financial plan for the years 2022 to 2026, which includes the capital and operating budgets for 2022.

In developing the financial plan, the City is guided by financial sustainability principles to maintain its financial health.

Community input is one of several factors that inform the development of the City's annual budget.

Some of the other factors that guide decision-making during the budget process include the mandatory services every municipality must deliver, City Council’s strategic priorities, the City’s Seven Bold Steps to address the climate emergency, and the City of New Westminster's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.

There are many opportunities through the budget process for the community to participate and provide input, and we encourage you to get involved. Engagement to date has included an interactive webinar, an online survey, and workshops with Council. Still to come is an opportunity to provide comments on the draft budget when it's released in December.


Community Survey

Thank you to all who completed the survey. The survey was open September 14 through October 6, 2021. Click here to see the survey results.


Budget 101 Webinar


Have you ever wondered how the City’s finances work – where the money comes from, and how it gets spent across various services and departments? Watch the recording of the September 14th interactive webinar. These are some of the topics that were covered in this year’s webinar:

  • What City services do your tax dollars support? (Note: if you’re a renter, you also contribute towards property taxes with your rent!)
  • What are the financial principles that guide the City’s budget?
  • How do the City’s priorities of climate action and equity impact the budget?
  • How is COVID-19 continuing to impact City finances and delivery of City services?

Our Budget 101 presenters are:

  • Harji Varn, Director of Finance
  • Lorraine Lyle, Manager, Financial Services
  • Lisa Spitale, Chief Administrative Officer

Project Update, January 25 2022: Thank you to all the community members who participated in the 2022 Budget Engagement and provided feedback through the most recent request for public comments on the final draft. Please visit the News Feed below for a response to the comments for Council from our Finance Department. 


Project Update, January 10 2022: At its January 10, 2022 regular meeting, New Westminster City Council received final public comments on the 2022-2026 Financial Plan and gave three readings to the budget bylaw. Click here to access the documents and recording from the meeting.

The 2022-2026 Draft Financial Plan has been prepared, based on a 4.4% property tax increase for 2022. Click here to watch a presentation about the Financial Plan from the December 13, 2021 Council meeting.


Project Update, October 18 2021: Survey results are now available. Click here for the full What We Heard Engagement Summary report. Click here for the verbatim survey comments. We have included a couple of the survey results charts here for quick access:


Every year, the City must adopt a five-year financial plan bylaw by May 15th as outlined by the Community Charter. The City of New Westminster is starting the process of developing the financial plan for the years 2022 to 2026, which includes the capital and operating budgets for 2022.

In developing the financial plan, the City is guided by financial sustainability principles to maintain its financial health.

Community input is one of several factors that inform the development of the City's annual budget.

Some of the other factors that guide decision-making during the budget process include the mandatory services every municipality must deliver, City Council’s strategic priorities, the City’s Seven Bold Steps to address the climate emergency, and the City of New Westminster's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.

There are many opportunities through the budget process for the community to participate and provide input, and we encourage you to get involved. Engagement to date has included an interactive webinar, an online survey, and workshops with Council. Still to come is an opportunity to provide comments on the draft budget when it's released in December.


Community Survey

Thank you to all who completed the survey. The survey was open September 14 through October 6, 2021. Click here to see the survey results.


Budget 101 Webinar


Have you ever wondered how the City’s finances work – where the money comes from, and how it gets spent across various services and departments? Watch the recording of the September 14th interactive webinar. These are some of the topics that were covered in this year’s webinar:

  • What City services do your tax dollars support? (Note: if you’re a renter, you also contribute towards property taxes with your rent!)
  • What are the financial principles that guide the City’s budget?
  • How do the City’s priorities of climate action and equity impact the budget?
  • How is COVID-19 continuing to impact City finances and delivery of City services?

Our Budget 101 presenters are:

  • Harji Varn, Director of Finance
  • Lorraine Lyle, Manager, Financial Services
  • Lisa Spitale, Chief Administrative Officer
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Do you have questions about the City's annual budget process? Enter a question here, and we'll aim to respond within 5 business days. If we think your question may be of interest to others, we'll post your question and our response here. 

Thanks for taking the time to ask questions!

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    I apologize for asking a question that is not basically a budget question but I can't find another avenue to put it forth. Can you tell me why council has not dealt with the conversion of the Centennial gym to a weigh training and cardio area? Council, in my opinion, has had more than enough time to deal with this issue. I have tried to get information from Parks and Rec but they say it is in councils hands and was supposed to be dealt with Jan. 10.

    tinman asked 4 months ago

    Hello, thanks for the question. During December, several investigations needed to occur simultaneously (over the holidays, during a significant weather event, etc.) to find appropriate spaces, conduct structural assessments, work with contractors to get quotes on moving equipment, and conduct financial analysis to plan for the relocation of fitness and programming.  

     We are happy to share that last evening (January 31, 2022) a report went forward to City Council with a Canada Games Pool Fitness Centre Relocation Plan. Arrangements have now been finalized to relocate the Canada Games Pool Fitness Centre to the Centennial Community Centre gymnasium, and appropriate locations have been secured for the existing programs that have been traditionally offered in the Centennial Community Centre gymnasium.

    The fitness centre is expected to open in early March, once electrical infrastructure and inspections are complete. This will return a highly valued and well-utilized service to the community. Beginning February 14, 2022, group fitness programs previously held in the Centennial Community Centre gymnasium will be relocated to either Centennial Lodge in Queen’s Park, Century House, or the River Room at Centennial Community Centre. Pickleball will move to École Herbert Spencer Elementary School gymnasium on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Please visit the Parks and Recreation site here for more information and schedules.

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    What is the focus of this budget?

    pegmak asked 8 months ago

    Hello and thank you for the question. Our apologies for the delay in getting back to you. The focus of the City’s 2021 budget is the delivery of core services, the City’s 7 Bold Steps, Council Strategic Priorities, public engagement feedback, and the continuing impacts from COVID 19 pandemic.  Details about the proposed capital plan can be found in the October 4th Council workshop report “Proposed 2022 Capital Budget and Funding Strategy” which is posted on the documents section of the City’s Budget 2022 Be Heard Page. In addition, there will be an open Council workshop on November 1st starting at noon to present the Proposed 2022 Operating and Utility Budgets and we encourage members of the public to attend.  A copy of the report from that workshop will also be posted on the Budget 2022 page following the session. 

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    With all the push on Climate Action, are you willing to reduce the cost of electricity so the average family can afford to switch from natural. Plse don’t bother telling me your rates are in line with B C Hydro, because they are not. I am going to a heat pump, but am seriously looking to staying with gas so I can afford to run it.

    Nana asked 7 months ago

    Hello and thank you for your question.

    The current cost of electricity, or the City’s annual rate increases, were approved by Council to be a flat 2.8% per/year for the next 5 years to support the residents and businesses of New West in mitigating against substantial risk that comes from market fluctuations in commodity prices and or other unforeseen events like the recent heat wave and Covid-19.  

    The City is also guided by the Financial Sustainability Principles whereby the City uses reserves to mitigate/protect the rate payer against any shocks or risks that could drive up the rate beyond inflation.  

    With regards to your interest in purchasing a heat pump and other climate-related questions, we recommend you visit our Energy Save New West website at http://www.energysavenewwest.ca/ for more information and details related to incentive programs which are in place.

    For 2022, Council and the public will see significant investments in Capital that continue to improve and strengthen our City’s ability to deliver reliable and safe infrastructure to all. 

    Council will be deliberating on the budget in early December and community members are invited to speak to Council or listen in on the discussion around the budget throughout November and December. 

    Thank you,
    Finance team

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    We have an aesthetic and sound barrier type question…. Would our city consider consider a somewhat attractive facade that may also act as a sound barrier attached or built into the cement retaining wall at top of 6th street at 10th Ave? Anything would help to stop amplifying the sound of regular speeding traffic, let alone ambulances on 10th Ave. It may also help soften ambulance sirens for the new high school. We would LOVE this improvement. There are so many material and design options for this

    Waldron asked 8 months ago

    Hi there, thanks for the question. I believe the “cement retaining wall” you referred to in your email is on private land, not public land.  Either way, it is not the city’s practice to build sound walls.  These walls are costly (is approx. $1,500-2,000 per linear metre) and, at a 3m height, are only effective in reducing traffic noise levels 1-2’ from ground level from the wheel well (i.e. tires, exhaust pipes and brakes).  There is one example of a sound barrier wall (concrete base with glass top) in the city located Downtown along Stewardson Way at Tenth Street.  This sound wall was designed and constructed by the developer of the adjacent tower for sound abatement in the public plaza. That being said, there are other ways to mitigate sound; sealing doors and windows or landscape treatments such as dense evergreen hedges are options that you may wish to consider.   

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    what is the money from the 3.5 percent climate action tax used for as this combined with electricity increase has resulted in over 6 percent increase in electricity costs . This combined with other increases in carbon tax (provincial) property taxes , water, sewer is contributing to making housing less affordable.

    Phil.W asked 8 months ago

    Hello, thank you for your question. 

    In response to Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration in 2019, the City has committed to implementation of the 7 Bold Steps towards climate action and directs funds for accelerating public projects towards energy efficiency and reduction of GHG emissions with the goal of moving New Westminster towards a zero carbon future by 2050. The Climate Action Levy helps finance carbon reduction projects and initiatives that align with the City’s environmental strategies and goals. 

    Funds from the Climate Action Levy have been allocated towards civic projects for the implementation of the City’s Corporate Energy and Emissions Reduction Strategy 2020 (CEERS). Through similar climate and resiliency focused initiatives the City aims to expedite strategies including electrification so more community members are able to transition to using low carbon vehicles and towards a fossil fuel free future. Additionally, the City is in the process of updating the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) to achieve our GHG emissions targets through programs and policies designed specifically to improve the energy efficiency of residential homes and businesses in New Westminster. More information about our ongoing strategies can be found on other Be Heard pages.

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    When are the plans to connect the bike trail alongside the Fraser river to Coquitlam? Less cars on the road!!

    Andrew asked 8 months ago

    Hello, thank you for your question.

    Completion of the Fraser River bike trail will require significant stakeholder consultation and coordination with a number of entities, including Port of Vancouver, CN Rail, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and private property owners, to name a few.  Further, the trail design will need to meet CN Rail and Transport Canada safety standards given the proposed alignment under the existing CN Railway bridge. Redevelopment of the portion of Westminster Pier Park that burned in 2020 will consider the riverfront trail in line with the future vision for the entire route.

    At its September 27, 2021 regular meeting, City Council unanimously approved a resolution committing to the rapid completion of a safe, comfortable, and connected All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Active Transportation Network and requesting staff update the Long Term Bicycle Network in the Master Transportation Plan, with an emphasis on establishment of a core AAA Active Transportation Network to connect neighborhoods and schools across New Westminster. The resolution further asked City staff to work with the Sustainable Transportation Task Force to develop preliminary AAA designs and standards, and report back to Council with an ambitious timeline for implementation of the core AAA network and phasing schedule that can be integrated into a 5-year capital plan. However, given the design, cost, and permitting challenges noted above, it is unclear whether the riverfront trail can be completed within that timeframe. It would likely be implemented over several budget years, but further preliminary work is necessary before we can start committing funds in the capital plan.

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    The road congestion at the queensbrough bridge is getting worse every year .when is a replacement bridge in the works?

    Fozzy asked 8 months ago

    Hello and thanks for your question. The Queensborough Bridge is owned and operated by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Province of BC). Any plans for replacement of the bridge fall under provincial jurisdiction and are not part of the City’s budget.

    Thanks, 

    Be Heard New West Team

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    I love the city's 7 Bold Goals to tackle Climate Change, and in particular a Quality People-Centred Public Realm. The goal states that A MINIMUM of 10% of city street space will be reallocated towards sustainable transportation or public gathering by 2030. How is "re-allocation" measured and is this transformation budgeted in the 2021 or 2022 capital spending plan?

    Westie asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for your question. The reallocation of City street space will require a number of approaches, some of which will be relatively easy to measure, and others which will be more challenging. Items easy to measure include permanent street closures for plazas and parkettes, dedicated bus lanes, and separated cycling lanes. Items that will be more challenging to measure include temporary street closures to accommodate sustainable transportation modes, such as the Front Street opening for walking, wheeling and biking on weekends, and non-separated bike routes (routes along streets, shared with vehicle space). We are currently working on a measurement framework in consultation with the Sustainable Transportation Advisory Committee and Task Force.

    At its September 27, 2021 regular meeting, City Council unanimously approved a resolution committing to the rapid completion of a safe, comfortable, and connected All Ages and Abilities (AAA) Active Transportation Network; requesting staff update the Long Term Bicycle Network in the Master Transportation Plan, with an emphasis on establishment of a core AAA Active Transportation Network to connect neighborhoods and schools across New Westminster. The resolution further asked City staff to work with the Sustainable Transportation Task Force to develop preliminary AAA designs and standards, and report back to Council with an ambitious timeline for implementation of the core AAA network and phasing schedule that can be integrated into a 5-year capital plan.   

    Staff are also currently completing detailed design and implementation of the Agnes Street Greenway, and preliminary design for the Rotary Crosstown Greenway upgrades in Uptown, the New Westminster Secondary School Connector, and Sixth St streetscape improvements which will result in further reallocation of road space for sustainable transportation modes. These projects are included in the 2021 and 2022 Capital Budgets.

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    How will the city tackle homelessness and help those living in the streets?

    asked 9 months ago

    Hello and thank you for this question. In response to the increase in unsheltered homelessness, the City has taken a number of actions, including:

    • 2021 Grant Funding: The City established a COVID-19 At-Risk and Vulnerable Populations Task Force, which has received $365,000 in City funding and $874,323 in foundation and senior government funding to address the essential needs of food insecure and unsheltered community members.
    • 2021 Budgets: We established a City of New Westminster Inter-Departmental Working Group on Homelessness to help address business and resident concerns related to homelessness and other social issues.
    • 2021 Budgets: The City is working with BC Housing and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to develop additional emergency shelter capacity and new supportive housing.
    • 2022 Budget and 5 Year Financial Plan: Council recently approved a proposal to develop a new Homelessness Action Strategy, which will provide a vision and plan to address homelessness over the next five years. This strategy will be prepared by the City with the assistance of the New Westminster Homelessness Coalition Society, the Community Action Network (which empowers people with lived and living experience of homelessness), and the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning. 
    • 2022 Budget and 5 Year Financial Plan: Proposal to Council  to develop an expedited review process and step-by-step guide, and allocating City funding, to facilitate the development of new affordable and supportive housing.
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    I'd like to know what the City has in place as far as a long-term strategic financial plan that the annual budget feeds into - not just the capital plan projects. Like a strata has to have a depreciation report for all of its operations and replacement costs, etc., what does the Cty of New Westminster have in place that the annual financial budget must be in-sync with? Also, what can you tell us about the number of firefighters and equipment, and firefghter training as it relates to all the new high rises in our city. How is our ratio of firefighters to population in comparison with other municipalities and general standards? Do our firefighters have high-rise training?

    Veronica asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for your questions. 

    The City of New Westminster is required to bring a Five-Year Plan for both Capital and Operating Programs/Expenditures by/before May 15 each year. The Five-Year Plan is largely set based off of the City’s Asset Management Plan/Condition of City’s Assets that are up for renewal/replacement. The long-range planning for asset replacement is built over time through the City’s Operating budget amortization/depreciation schedules, which transfer funds into reserves to support a fiscally responsible plan that allows cities to set sustainable annual property tax and utility rates. Council’s Strategic Priorities also inform both the Capital and Operating plans. 

    Other factors, like Metro Levies, commodity price increases beyond inflation, unforeseen/emerging needs, such as climate action, are also factored into the City’s Five-Year Plan prior to bringing a draft plan to Council and the public with an associated funding strategy. These events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can put pressure on either the City’s reserves, rates, or infrastructure condition and therefore the Five-Year Plan is updated and reviewed/approved by Council on an annual basis. 

    In response to your questions about the fire department, New Westminster currently has 89 firefighters. Based on the latest Census data (2016), this works out to one firefighter for every 4,500 residents in New West. The average across Metro Vancouver is one firefighter for every 4,800 people. The highest ratio is in West Vancouver, with one firefighter for every 2,400 residents, and the lowest ratio is in the Township of Langley, at one firefighter for every 6,900 people.

    New Westminster Fire & Rescue conducts annual training in high-rise procedures. The high-rise program consists of five modules:

    1. HVAC systems
    2. Water supply
    3. Elevator control
    4. Alarm systems
    5. Practical scenarios


    We hope to see you at the Budget 101 webinar on September 14!

    Kind regards,
    Be Heard New West Team