Online petition garners high profile support from national sportscaster

Farhan Lalji is a well-known TSN sportscaster and a highly respected Hyack Football coach. This week he threw his considerable support behind my petition asking for New Westminster City Hall to consider the construction of a 3rd arena in the city.

In an email sent to key Hyack Football contacts Lalji asks them to support the petition and help me reach the target of 500 signatures.

The petition notes that kids in New Westminster face inflexible practice times and local teams have limited opportunities to host larger tournaments.  The last time the City of New Westminster invested in a major new sports venue was in 1973 when it built the Canada Games Pool.

The fact we’ve had so much development in the city over the last several decades, but so little investment in new sports and recreation facilities, is not lost on most local residents. However, the sudden and unnecessary loss of our beloved Arenex complex last winter has opened up the door for us to discuss how we should proceed into the future. But it will only happen it we band together as a sports community.

In fairness, it should be noted there have been recent investments by city hall to upgrade Mercer Stadium including the installation of artificial turf fields. The city also built a new outdoor pool in Moody Park – however, it has limited use during the summer period only.

One would expect the approval of countless new developments and highrise towers would come with a “quid pro quo”.  More development should translate into community benefits – yet, Lalji rightly notes the last major investment in a sporting facility was over four decades ago!

The online petition definitely received a boost when Lalji tweeted out to his 55,000+ followers asking them to consider supporting it if they live in New Westminster. As of Monday evening, the petition spiked up to 428 signatories – which means we are likely to hit the target of 500 signatures within the next month!

Interestingly, the local Record newspaper has yet to make any reference to the petition – despite being made aware of this grassroots effort a few weeks ago. I remain hopeful if we reach the 500 mark that Mayor and Council – along with our local newspaper – will pay attention to this initiative.

There is still time to sign on to the petition. You can do so by clicking here.

UPDATE: As of 6:30 am on Tuesday, June 27 a total of 444 people had signed the petition.