COQUITLAM, B.C., Sept. 15, 2021 – Coquitlam’s broad-based multi-million-dollar pandemic relief program was recognized with an award from B.C.’s local governments.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) named the City’s Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP) – established in spring 2020 to support residents, businesses and organizations through the pandemic – as the first recipient of the Presidents Committee Choice award. Part of the UBCM’s annual Community Excellence Awards, the award was created in 2021 to provide special recognition to a B.C. community for its outstanding response to the pandemic.
Supporting All Sectors
The City launched the multi-phased CSRP to foster short-term and long-term community resilience and recovery. To ensure broad-based community-wide impact, CSRP programs and services were directed to all residents, businesses and organizations in Coquitlam, not just to property owners. By early 2022, Coquitlam will have invested close to $4 million in community pandemic relief through the CSRP.
CSRP programs are outlined at www.coquitlam.ca/CSRP and have included:
- 2020 property tax and utility bill extensions for all property owners;
- The Meals for Seniors frozen meal delivery and take-out service for isolated seniors;
- Reduced fees for pre-registered drop-in recreation programs;
- Revenue replacement and pandemic response grants for not-for-profit and community organizations;
- Donations to local food and rent banks;
- Initiatives to assist businesses, including waived late fees for business licences, temporary outdoor patio expansions, free City Centre parking and marketing campaigns; and
- Expansion of public Wi-Fi and an interactive bike map on the Coquitlam Connect app.
More recent additions include a Community Volunteer Support Hub providing targeted assistance and development opportunities to not-for-profit organizations, an expanded and updated Financial Assistance for Recreation program, pop-up parks, and the doubling of block party grants in 2021 to support neighbourhoods safely coming together again.
A Well Planned, Financially Prudent Approach
Most of the City’s investment in CSRP has been funded through existing budgets, by reallocating savings achieved through prudent fiscal management.
To carefully administer its CSRP investments, the City developed an assessment framework that helped ensure activities were targeted where they were needed most, were administratively and legally feasible, provided measurable benefits over time, and did not duplicate the efforts of other jurisdictions. Wherever possible, the CSRP has strategically redirected resources and leveraged existing programs and partner capacity to provide broad community support.
The CSRP’s administration and service-delivery has touched on all areas of the City, speaking to the important role municipalities play in providing support and connecting to their citizens.
In line with the community’s gradual recovery and return of City services, most CSRP investments are wrapping up in 2021 but some select initiatives will continue into 2022 in some form, based on need.
About Coquitlam’s Community Support and Recovery Plan
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. New initiatives have continued to be introduced in 2021 as the program nears its conclusion. Information about the CSRP is posted at www.coquitlam.ca/csrp.
About the UBCM Community Excellence Awards Program
Launched in 2004, the UBCM Community Excellence Awards Program recognize and celebrate UBCM member municipalities that have implemented projects and programs that demonstrate excellence in meeting the purposes of local government in B.C. The awards are designed to profile promising practices and to create successful pathways and incentives for others to follow. Learn more at www.ubcm.ca.
Deputy City Manager
City of Coquitlam