COQUITLAM, B.C., Sept. 15, 2020 – New grants, free legal services, relaxed business rules and other community supports are coming to Coquitlam this fall as the City ramps up its broad multi-phased pandemic support plan.
This week City Council endorsed the Coquitlam COVID-19 Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP), first introduced in May to provide direct relief to residents, businesses and non-profits and to foster community resilience and recovery.
The City has allocated an initial $5-million in funding, to be targeted to a range of initiatives in 2020 and 2021 to support community recovery. The multi-phased plan will be reviewed every four months in consideration of emerging community needs and stimulus funding opportunities.
Supporting the Community in Challenging Times
In the coming months, staff will explore a multi-phased framework to support all sectors of the community with projects and initiatives within the jurisdiction of local government. Programs rolled out during the initial months of the CSRP included:
- Deferring utility bill and property tax deadlines to Sept. 30;
- A new Meals for Seniors delivery and pickup program;
- Business marketing support and a new online Business Recovery and Support Portal;
- A temporary program allowing businesses to expand their services outdoors;
- Free online recreation programs, and grants for physically-distant block parties;
- Paid opportunities for businesses and organizations to participate in reformatted online versions of civic events;
- Continuing capital projects that provided jobs and promoted economic recovery; and
- Adapting development application processes and fee schedules.
New Initiatives Being Developed
Future initiatives will be developed in a range of sectors, including grants to the City’s cultural partners, increased business supports, and support for community and non-profit services and programs. Future program details will be announced over time.
To promote economic recovery, the City will also continue to monitor and leverage provincial and federal government stimulus funding announcements.
Because the CSRP is intended to be flexible and responsive to new challenges and opportunities, programs may change or be added in the months ahead. Information and updates will be posted at www.coquitlam.ca/CSRP.
Targeting Funds Wisely
Funding for CSRP projects is primarily coming from the City’s infrastructure and economic development reserves and the Community Capital Fund. To maximize the City’s investment and help those most in need, evaluation criteria has been developed to ensure proposed expenditures:
- Target a high-need area impacted by the pandemic;
- Do not overlap with a federal or provincial jurisdiction or other recovery programs;
- Do not create legal challenges or long-term financial risks;
- Are practical and cost-effective to administer;
- Enhance existing City programs and services wherever possible;
- Provide sustained support rather than just immediate relief; and
- Leverage the capacity, knowledge and resources of other partners wherever possible.
Public feedback will also help shape future CSRP spending. Coquitlam will conduct ongoing public engagement to help staff and Council assess the program and identify emerging issues and next steps. Information will be posted on the City’s website, social media channels and www.letstalkcoquitlam.ca.
Supporting Our Community During the Pandemic
The City of Coquitlam is here to help, with these resources:
- Visit www.coquitlam.ca/csrp to learn about the City’s Community Support and Recovery Plan, which is supporting the non-profit sector, businesses and residents through the pandemic;
- Visit www.coquitlam.ca/spirit for a free library of activities for all ages, including fitness, arts and culture, outdoor activities and ways to connect with your community; and
- Visit www.coquitlam.ca/covid19 for updates on City services and initiatives and COVID-19 health resources.
Coquitlam residents and businesses are also encouraged to follow the City of Coquitlam on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and download the CoquitlamConnect mobile app for up-to-date City information.