Jonathan X. Côte is a first term mayor of New Westminster. He’s also been a city councillor for the last nine years. CKNW’s Drex has lived in New West himself for the past four years, and thought it might be time for Côte to take a day off.
New West is known as B.C.’s oldest city and the former provincial capital. But for one day, it became the city run by Mayor Drex.
Mayor’s perks: spacious office and bathroom (literally) fit for a Queen
Upon his arrival to his new office for the day, Drex couldn’t help but notice it’s “almost presidential” size along with a bathroom much fancier than he’s used to.
“Apparently when she does visit a city, she does not use public washrooms, so when she made the royal visit to New Westminster, the city had to scramble to figure out what to do and the solution was to build a private washroom in the mayor’s office.”
Yes, Côte himself has used it, along with Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Bill Bennet and Michael Jackson to name a few others.
The mysteriously faceless former mayor
According to Côte, there are no known photographs of New West’s second mayor John Ramage. This gap in history was once perfect for a city hall prank.
“My predecessor, Mayor Wayne Wright, one year as a joke kind of did kind of an old time photograph of himself and slipped it into the photo [spot] and no one noticed for a couple of years… Until a local historian came up and was actually quite excited that we had finally discovered a photograph of the second mayor. Since that point, we’ve had to take that photograph of Wayne down.”
Mayor Drex’s city agenda
After the official proclamation was made and Drex was seated comfortably in his mayor chair, it was time for some suggested changes, like…
- Developing a network of heliports
- Adding a ferris wheel to the quay
When those ideas weren’t immediately taken into action, Drex decided to call up Coquitlam’s Mayor Richard Stewart for some advice from a fellow politician, which Stewart was happy to offer up.
“One of the most important things is to realize there are two sides to everything and sometimes, I gotta tell you Drex, sometimes back when you were a talk show host, perhaps you were a little bit focused on the one side.”
After one day of mayor-hood, Drex learned that there’s more than meets the eye to running a city.
“All in all, it’s a tough job being the mayor. The reading pack alone that the councilors and the mayor get on Thursday afternoons are the size of two reams of paper. They’re that thick.”
There’s meetings galore with councillors, resident boards, Metro Vancouver and more. For Drex, one day in charge might be enough.
“Local politics may seem simple from the outside, but it really does take a lot to run a city. There’s a lot of moving parts and I can tell you right now, the workload alone will always be the one thing that will always deter me from ever running for political office. Also because I’m quite lazy.”