COQUITLAM, BC, June 16, 2020 – Coquitlam will soon start engaging the public again on non-pandemic issues, after residents gave the idea a thumbs up in a recent survey.
Of the 847 people who completed the survey in late May, 94 per cent agreed it is important for Coquitlam to consult and inform the community about typical City issues, even while the COVID-19 outbreak remains a priority. Video conferencing, email and other online tools were flagged as potential options, in additional to some physically distant in-person methods.
Survey Shows Community is Ready to Engage
Engaging the community on projects and issues that affect them is an important part of the City’s work. To support new initiatives and important projects in progress, the City surveyed the community May 21 to 31 and conducted other research to determine if the time is right to restart public consultation on non-pandemic projects, and to identify the best ways to do so in the age of physical distancing.
The survey results were in line with other recent national and municipal surveys that suggest Canadians are ready to engage again in non-pandemic issues with all levels of government. Of note from the Coquitlam responses:
- Virtual meeting tools – 75 per cent have used tools such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, and of those, 74 per cent are comfortable using them.
- Online participation – 60 per cent are interested, while 33 per cent are not sure and seven per cent are not comfortable doing so.
- Other remote engagement options – 65 per cent prefer email (including online surveys) and 30 per cent like the idea of virtual events. Other ideas included phone feedback, Facebook Live, video presentations and online information.
What’s Next for Public Engagement in Coquitlam
While most survey respondents said they appreciate the opportunity to provide input, some also warned about possible virtual meeting burnout, given that many people are participating in video conferencing and other online communications more frequently during the pandemic. Some also pointed to the need for multiple communication methods, such as in-person, email, telephone, social media, live online Q&A sessions, making recorded meetings available and allowing for comments.
With this feedback in hand, City staff are now devising a plan to identify and implement creative ways to gather public feedback within the current public health constraints. Tools and tactics may include email and telephone feedback, physically distant in-person open houses, the Let’s Talk Coquitlam online engagement portal, online surveys, on-site signage, stakeholder group outreach and virtual open houses.
Tools Available Now
Some online tools are already in place, as the City has been turning to alternative methods in recent years to provide more ways for the public to participate.
Members of the public are encouraged to join the City’s Viewpoint online survey community at www.coquitlam.ca/viewpoint and visit the new Let’s Talk Coquitlam public online engagement site at www.letstalkcoquitlam.ca for information and opportunities for feedback on business supports, the City Centre Area Plan update, and development of the Environmental Sustainability Plan.
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 providing immediate and long-term support for the non-profit sector, businesses and residents;
- 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.