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Coquitlam revamps website
Coquitlam has a new online face to project to the world.
On Monday at midnight, the city’s new website (www.coquitlam.ca) went live, replacing the outdated community portal powered for 10 years by citysoup.ca, a multi-million dollar project sponsored in part by the federal government that was deemed a dud virtually from the start.
The new website, which cost taxpayers some $260,000, is the result of two years of work by a consultant and city staff, said Dan McDonald, Coquitlam’s corporate communications manager.
And despite a few glitches on its first day, it has so far been well received by the public, with city hall getting top marks in an online feedback survey.
Its bright and clean look — with large pictures on the home and landing pages, colour-coded banners and mega drop-down menu — is in stark contrast to the old site, which was cluttered and hard to navigate.
McDonald said even Mayor Richard Stewart and city manager Peter Steblin fielded complaints about the old portal when they recently travelled to Asia on a trade and cultural exchange trip.
“They were told that Coquitlam lacked an identity and they didn’t like the website as a first-point of entry,” McDonald said, adding the new website will allow users to “take a drive of the city services and programs and never get lost.”
“With the old one, you had to dig and dig for information,” he said. “A lot of people just gave up on it. It was very frustrating that we were losing people.”
McDonald, who was contracted four years ago as a consultant to conduct a cyclical review of the communications department, noted in his report at the time that the city website was poor and needed to be freshened up. Since being hired by the city full-time, McDonald’s aim has been to rebuild the website from scratch, giving Coquitlam a strong presence on the worldwide web.
“When you are competing in the Lower Mainland with a large group of cities vying for people and business, you have to have a website that reflects your city and image, and gives it an edge,” he said. “We believe this does: It’s a corporate asset. It’s a revenue tool.”
Still, the new website, which McDonald described as like an online newspaper with topical events and activities at the top of the page, will have a shorter lifespan than the previous one, about five to seven years.