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Blogger, Citizen of Year to run for New Westminster council

Patrick Johnstone is running for city council. - Contributed photo
Patrick Johnstone is running for city council.
— image credit: Contributed photo

He's an activist, environmentalist, local blogger and the 2013 Citizen of the Year.

And now he's hoping to secure a spot on New Westminster city council in the November civic election.

Patrick Johnstone announced his intentions in a press release issued Wednesday morning.

“I love New Westminster, and have always believed in working to build your community,” it states. “I think I have the skills to be an effective councillor, to keep the city moving forward, and will bring new ideas and a strong voice to the council table.”

Johnstone says he chose to announce early in order to spend the summer listening to voters from all neighbourhoods, and learn more about their concerns.

“I have been blogging and leading conversations about issues for years," he said. "I‘m not afraid to express my opinion, but a councillor needs to listen first. That’s my goal for the summer: knocking on doors, attending events, and listening to people who will challenge my own ideas about what New Westminster wants and needs.”

Johnstone has been considering running for council for some time, and in recent months has had people asking if he would try this November. It may be an opportune time, as at least two incumbents won't run for council again.

Current city councillor Betty McIntosh has said she will not be running again, and Coun. Jonathan Coté plans to run for mayor. And notably, terms for both city council and school board are being boosted from the current three years to four, beginning this election, so the next opportunity for city council hopefuls will not return until November 2018.

Johnstone is a director of the New Westminster Environmental Partners, the Royal City Curling Club and the Brow of the Hill Residents Association, and he volunteers in various other capacities in the city.

“I think the timing is right for me to take my community volunteering in this new direction,” he said.

For several years Johnstone has written a locally focused blog called “New Westminster – In My Back Yard” at nwimby.blogspot.ca.

“I am a communicator, and want to continue to communicating first as a candidate and ultimately, as a councillor. People tell me they feel separated from decision-making in government. I want to help create stronger channels of communication, so residents are heard at the council table, and residents better understand how and why Council makes decisions.”

Johnstone has just launched a campaign website at PatrickJohnstone.ca.

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