Flexibility needed on park fees

B.C. municipalities should be allowed to dip into their parkland acquisition funds to keep the green spaces modern and tidy, a Coquitlam city councillor says.

And, on Monday, city council backed a motion by Coun. Mae Reid, chair of the city’s land use committee, to get the provincial government to give local governments more flexibility on the use of the fees.

Under Section 941 of the Local Government Act, cities can only use the 5% cash-in-lieu to acquire land for new parks. Reid said the provision is a stranglehold and cities, including Coquitlam, have budgetary shortfalls for maintenance and upgrades at existing parks.

Coun. Neal Nicholson voted against Reid’s proposal, saying, the 5% for parkland acquisition “is a standard that’s a pretty modest dedication.”

Copies of council’s resolution will be sent to the Union of BC Municipalities and the Lower Mainland Local Government Association for discussion at their conventions later this year.

Other city news:




A Coquitlam city councillor wants to put an end to notices of motion.

But on Monday, Coun. Lou Sekora had to submit a notice of motion for council to vote on his idea later this month.

Sekora said council shouldn’t have to wait two weeks to make a decision about an issue brought to the table by a council member. He said city council should debate and vote on such topics immediately — although budgetary matters could be deferred for a staff report.

Sekora’s motion, which will be discussed at the March 21 meeting, was seconded by Coun. Doug Macdonell.

“It would actually require amending the procedure bylaw so it would take a bit of time to work it’s way through,” city clerk Jay Gilbert said.

Since January, city council has dealt with three notices of motion, on: online voting (from Coun. Linda Reimer); a resolution reconsideration (from Mayor Richard Stewart); and the Regional Growth Strategy (from Sekora).

Meanwhile, Coun. Neal Nicholson also introduced a notice of motion on Monday — to be debated on March 21 — calling for all Evergreen Line stations in Coquitlam to have publicly accessible washrooms.



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