March 1, 2017

A New Vision for New Westminster

There is a new plan for New Westminster. Following a thorough envisioning and public consultation process, the City of New Westminster has recently released its Draft Official Community Plan (OCP). OCPs outline the development and growth that is intended throughout the city. This includes land use planning specifying what kind of businesses and homes are planned for different areas.

The new plan outlines the vision for the future of New Westminster and its neighbourhoods, including Sapperton. The plan for Sapperton is exciting, and focuses on future and innovation.

Here are a few things to know about what’s ahead for Sapperton according to the new draft OCP:

  1. RESIDENTIAL AND RETAIL GROWTH: East Columbia Street is considered a ‘Great Street’, and the new plan includes a full-spectrum of housing and businesses, including more mixed-use development, medium-density residential homes along with ground level retail. Growth along East Columbia is meant to encourage better transit and support local businesses.
  2. ECONOMIC BUSINESS INCUBATORS: The health sector will continue to be the most important of the City’s knowledge- based sectors. The expansion of Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) will strengthen the local health sector and has the potential to grow related health sector industries in the areas of research and health services delivery. The hospital expansion will create a high-quality health care environment and promote economic development through the support of medical research and development, businesses and personal services, offices, and advanced education facilities.
  3. HEALTH CARE CLUSTER & TARGETED GROWTH SURROUNDING ROYAL COLUMBIA HOSPITAL: The draft OCP leverages the planned billion dollar RCH expansion to grow health, research technology-related employment opportunities locally. A new Special Employment Area has been created in the area around the hospital to show the City’s intent to promote and offer incentives for office development within a 5-minute walk of the hospital with a goal of encouraging additional office space within a short walk from RCH.
  4. MORE OFFICE SPACE = 11,300 NEW JOBS: The City forecasts that office floor space will increase by an additional 2,000,000 square feet by 2041. The majority of this new space will be in Sapperton. The additional office floor space will significantly impact employment. In fact, over 11,300 new jobs are projected as a direct result.
  5. MORE INSTITUTIONALIZED FLOOR SPACE = 2,600 JOBS: Increased institutional floor space at places such as RCH, Justice Institute and Douglas College is expected to grow employment in New Westminster by over 2,600 jobs.
  6. SKYTRAIN STATIONS = RESIDENTIAL GROWTH & INVESTMENT ANCHORS: Higher density residential growth around New Westminster’s 5 SkyTrain stations will continue to act as investment anchors supporting employment in the institutional, office and retail sectors. Areas around SkyTrain stations, including Sapperton have been designated as Frequent Transit Development Areas, meaning they are expected to act as investment anchors supporting employment in the institutional, office and retail sectors. The planning supports the City’s commercial streets, including East Columbia, which are intended to provide a variety of shops and services that meet the daily needs of residents, employees and businesses.
  7. 52% POPULATION GROWTH: New Westminster’s population is expected in increase to almost 104,000 people by 2041, which is an increase of 36,000 new people. This is an increase of 52%.

For more information on New Westminster's Draft Official Community Plan, visit