The Downtowner, April 1999

The Voice of the Downtown Residents Association
"From Royal to the River"
514 Carnarvon St., New Westminster, BC, V3L 1C4
Phone: 526-1882
Fax: 521-1926

A little over a year ago, crack dealers moved into downtown New Westminster in force, attracting large numbers of drug users, driving up property crime, and generally making life difficult for people who live here. In response, a community group has been formed, the Downtown Residents Association. The objective of the association is to combat the crack-dealing problem, and more generally to improve the livability of downtown New Westminster, coordinating our efforts with the city, with the police, and with other community groups.

We hold public meetings once a quarter, with representatives from the city and the police. This provides a way for residents to express our concerns and give input, and for the city and the police to communicate what they're doing and what's likely to happen over the next few months. If you haven't been to a meeting yet, we'd like to encourage you to attend. The association is open to anyone living in the area between Royal Avenue and the Fraser River (the area marked "D" on the map of New Westminster). Our next meeting will be Thursday April 29 at 7:30 pm, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, 514 Carnarvon St. Come out and have a coffee with us! Speakers will include Lilian Arishenkoff from the city planning department, and someone from the police.

Also, the city is putting together a community livability plan for the downtown area, as a follow-on to discussions last year with Portland and Seattle. An initial meeting will be held Thursday April 22 at 7 pm, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, 514 Carnarvon St.

If you have suggestions for the association, you can call Ernie Richmond at 526-1882 or Walter Woermann at 517-4655, or send us a fax at 521-1926. The other members of the executive committee are Lila Wood and Russil Wvong. If you'd like to volunteer to join the executive committee, we'd certainly welcome the help.

If you're on the Internet, we also have a web page at It includes a public forum where you can contribute suggestions and comments.

Crack Dealing - Current Status

In October last year, police across the Lower Mainland arrested more than 100 drug dealers. Since then, open drug activity has been way down, but the drug dealers and drug users will probably start coming back, particularly as the weather gets warmer. Downtown New Westminster is centrally located and has easy access from the Skytrain. What could be more convenient? We appear to be getting users from all over the Lower Mainland.

At our last meeting, residents from 55 - 10th St. (10th and Carnarvon) reported that the crack dealers have been pushed down to 10th Street. Since January or so, the residents have been having problems with break-ins, vandalism, and noise. In fact, there's people in two apartments in their building who are dealing crack cocaine. One's a tenant, and is being evicted. Another's an owner, and they're trying to find a way to get rid of him. They've hired a security guard and are looking at installing a new security system.

What the city's doing to combat the problem:

The renovations currently going on at the New Westminster Skytrain Station include design changes to make drug dealing more difficult.

Councillor Chuck Puchmayr notes that other cities (e.g. Portland and Seattle) have had considerable success with an "in-your-face" approach to chasing out drug dealers, including citizen patrols.

Longer-term, we need to reduce the demand for hard drugs, which means more treatment and rehabilitation facilities for addicts.


We're planning to hold public meetings once every three months, and to distribute a newsletter about a month before every meeting. If you could post a copy of this newsletter in your building, we'd really appreciate it.