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New councillor brings millennial voice to Port Coquitlam council

Paige Petriw said she's looking forward to her post on Port Coquitlam council and said it's important for younger people to run for politics. With her event planning experience, she hopes to support the city in its bid to revitalize downtown with live music and the arts.
Paige Petriw was elected to Port Coquitlam city council in the 2022 civic election.

Millennial voices are getting heard in Port Coquitlam with the latest addition to city council.

Paige Petriw, a small business owner with a young family, was elected Saturday (Oct.15)  to a council of veterans. She'll join two others — including Mayor Brad West — who are juggling young kids with council duties.

Petriw told the Tri-City News that millennials need to "step up" and she has no intention of stepping back from her business, Spotlight Events, as she starts her new job as city councillor.

Port Coquitlam’s newest councillor is arriving on the scene as the city prepares to revitalize its downtown with craft beer festivals, arts and culture, live music and a 100th anniversary May Day event.

Petriw, whose event planning company has ties to many community organizations and cultural groups, said she’s excited to help the city enliven its downtown.

“I know that's a big priority for council, being able to put on more celebrations and more cultural celebrations and diversity and that sort of thing and we've got a lot of the revitalization projects that are kind of lending themselves well for event spaces. So it's definitely an area I've already had some conversations with.”

Reflect the concerns of families

Petriw is the sixth councillor elected to PoCo council during Saturday’s municipal election.

The remaining elected councillors are Nancy McCurrach, who topped the polls, Glenn Pollock, Darrell Penner, Steve Darling and Dean Washington, all incumbents, who were endorsed by Mayor West prior to the Oct. 15 election.

West said he was pleased with the results, as it suggests a vote of confidence. He thinks Petriw will be a good addition to the team.

“I think, like me, she obviously has a young family," West said. "I think it will be awesome to have another voice to really reflect the concerns of families in our community.”

Petriw said her experience on the mayor’s advisory council for the past four years has helped her understand a lot of the issues and ongoing projects, including the revitalization of McAllister Avenue, Leigh Square, Veterans Park and the Donald Pathway.

She also worked with the city’s recreation department on the opening of the Port Coquitlam Community Centre, where she gained a lot of local knowledge.

Promising her business won’t bid on Port Coquitlam city recreation contracts to maintain her “integrity” on council, Petriw did say she’d like a music and theatre festival to come to the city and believes her connections could help make that happen.

Petriw was raised in Port Moody, lived in Coquitlam and now Port Coquitlam, with her husband and two young children, one almost five and another 18 months.

Her company, Spotlight Events is located on Nicola Avenue in the city and Petriw intends to keep running her business while she’s on council, and has a supportive spouse with his own business so she can juggle all her duties.

“Yes, my business is my baby. I'm so passionate about it. I love doing events. But I'm also fortunate to have a really awesome team,” Petriw said. 

“I just think having that perspective and still being really integrated in the real world of being a citizen and running a business and being a mom and all those things, I think is, you know, is a huge part of who I am. And it's a perspective that I want to be able to draw on when I'm making decisions at the council table.”

Steep learning curve to politics

However, Petriw acknowledges there will be a steep learning curve in the coming weeks as she learns how the city fits in to Metro Vancouver and what PoCo’s role is compared to that of the provincial and federal governments.

Still, Petriw added, it’s important for millennials to get involved in politics, even if it might be daunting.

“There comes a time when the next generation needs to step up and to start to learn and and contribute to our city because, you know, people are going to retire they're not going to be around forever.”