Community Engagement

Community engagement – also called public participation – plays an important role in realizing and shaping many of Coquitlam’s projects, policies and plans, and there is a public expectation to be informed and, where appropriate, reasonably engaged in the decision-making process. 

Coquitlam’s Community Engagement Framework formalizes and provides clarity to decision-makers, staff and participants about how Coquitlam informs and involves the community and other interested parties in the City’s decision-making process. 

  1. Our Approach
  2. Current Opportunities
  3. Join Viewpoint Survey Panel
  4. Other Ways to Engage

Approach to Community Engagement 

Engaging the public and other interested parties is one part of the City’s overall decision-making process. The City must balance public feedback along with a number of other factors including community need, budget, other strategies and plans, legislation, operational and technical considerations, and staff expertise. Sometimes this means that feedback the City receives is considered, but not acted on if it’s not in balance with other elements of the decision to be made.

Not every project will require input from the community or other interested parties to make a decision. If there is limited ability to impact the decision being made (due to budget, technical constraints, external demands, etc.), the City will focus on information-sharing to ensure the community is kept up to date as the project progresses.

Guiding Principles

Coquitlam’s approach to Community Engagement is guided by its Community Engagement Framework, which sets out the following guiding principles:

  • Transparent Because public engagement is only one aspect of the City’s decision making process, when consulting or involving the public we will be clear about what decisions have already been made and why. We will be clear about our engagement objective and how feedback will be used. We will articulate what is on (or off) the table for the decision-making process. 
  • Authentic Coquitlam looks to best practices to determine what level of engagement (e.g. inform / consult / involve) is appropriate based on the public’s ability to influence the decision. We will build our engagement strategies in alignment with the determined level of engagement.
  • Inclusive and Equitable We will design engagement processes to ensure that barriers to participation (e.g. accessibility standards, child care/activities, translation, location, time of day) are considered and, where feasible, addressed to the best of our ability and project resources.
  • Understandable Whether informing or seeking input, we will use plain language throughout the process and make available the necessary balanced and objective background information that people need to understand the information being presented. 
  • Data-driven We will use best practices in the design and gathering of information and data. 
  • Accountable We will inform the public about decisions that the City has made. If public input was part of the decision-making process, we will report back on how that feedback was provided to decision-makers as part of the decision-making process.

When and How We Engage

Not every project requires community input.

When does the City share information?  

  • When the major decisions about a project have already been made (due to factors such as budget, legislation, community need, external drivers, technical constraints, etc.). 
  •  When we are reporting back on decisions that have been made with the support of previous community engagement. 

When does the City seek input?

  • When there are decisions to be made that the public or interested parties can affect. 
  • When we need information from the public or interested parties to make our decisions. 

Spectrum of Public Participation

When the City determines that a project requires public input, we consider our engagement goals and look to the Spectrum of Public Participation to help us determine the level of involvement from the public. The level of engagement can change over the course of a project, or between different groups.

Spectrum of Public Participation Chart Opens in new window