COQUITLAM, B.C., March 16, 2021 – Coquitlam is delivering an additional $2.1 million in pandemic support in 2021 to residents, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and other groups through its dedicated COVID-19 relief fund.
This year’s supports, provided through the City’s COVID-19 Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP), will bring funding and services valued at a total of roughly $3.2 million, Council heard yesterday during a progress report from staff. The City launched the pandemic relief plan in spring 2020 to foster community resilience and recovery.
Continuing to Provide Needed Relief
Coquitlam’s CSRP provides targeted relief to all sectors of the community, with programs that include financial aid, a seniors’ meal program, waived or reduced fees, business supports and eased regulatory requirements. The plan complements but does not duplicate support being provided by other levels of government.
Proposed initiatives, financed by various reserve accounts including a $5 million allocation by Council, are designed to meet the CSRP criteria in order to ensure a balanced and sustained program, maximize the City’s investment, provide meaningful support and help those most in need.
More information about the CSRP can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/csrp.
CSRP Initiatives for 2021
Initiatives offered in 2021, valued at approximately $2.1 million, include:
- Expanding free public Wi-Fi, including new hotspots at six parks and extending the range of existing hotspots at five other civic locations;
- Adding a bike map module to the Coquitlam Connect app;
- Providing financial support for the City’s cultural and community partners – Place des Arts, Evergreen Cultural Centre, Coquitlam Heritage Society, Coquitlam Public Library and Place Maillardville – that have been financially impacted by the pandemic;
- Planning for changes to the Get Connected, Get Active financial assistance program to reduce barriers and increase flexibility for recreation users;
- Developing a framework to facilitate the return of community events and providing event support;
- Installing temporary outdoor covered shelters in public spaces around the community to help businesses and community groups facilitate safe outdoor activities; and
- Creating a pop-up Green Street pilot program in the spring to encourage safe outdoor social interaction and support for local businesses.
Continuing CSRP Initiatives
A number of CSRP programs initiated in 2020 are also continuing in 2021, including:
- Grants to community organizations for revenue replacement and pandemic response, and donations to SHARE’s food and rent banks;
- The Meals for Seniors delivery and takeout meal program;
- Temporarily reduced drop-in recreation fees; and
- Business supports including marketing assistance, a free half-hour of parking in City Centre, and a program temporarily allowing businesses to use adjacent outdoor spaces.
The City provided initiatives valued at approximately $1.1 million during the first two phases of the CSRP in 2020, much of that funded through existing reserve funds.
Additional Supports Possible
As the restrictions on public outdoor gathering are adjusted by the Public Health Officer, the City will revisit its plans to double the typical $150 Block Party grants in 2021.
A proposal to provide free legal advice on pandemic-related matters for residents and not-for-profits will also be considered later in 2021.
Based on Council requests, staff has reviewed the secondary suite approval process to ensure it is as user-friendly as possible, and are coordinating with Meals on Wheels to support residents with mobility challenges who may not be eligible for the Meals for Seniors program.
The City is also developing an integrated City-wide plan to support not-for-profit organizations in the community as they manage volunteer recruitment, retention and changing operational demands in response to the pandemic. The program will be launched in a future phase of the CSRP.
City’s COVID-19 Plan Supporting Community Recovery
Introduced in spring 2020, Coquitlam’s COVID-19 Community Support and Recovery Plan is a multi-phased recovery strategy made up of programs and initiatives to support all facets of the community through the pandemic. It provides targeted immediate and long-term support for businesses, residents and the not-for-profit sector. Several of the CSRP initiatives introduced in 2020 remain active, with more launching throughout 2021. Information about the program and supports is posted at www.coquitlam.ca/csrp.
Supporting Our Community During the Pandemic
The City of Coquitlam is here to help, with these resources:
- www.coquitlam.ca/csrp: Details about the City’s Community Support and Recovery Plan, which is supporting non-profits, businesses and residents through the pandemic;
- www.coquitlam.ca/spirit: Free activities for all ages, including fitness, arts and culture, outdoor activities and ways to stay engaged; and
- www.coquitlam.ca/covid19: City service updates and COVID-19 health resources.
Stay up-to-date about City news and service changes by:
Coquitlam Community Support and Recovery Plan Initiatives
Manager, Corporate Planning
City of Coquitlam