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Coquitlam to dole out $1M more in COVID-19 relief cash

Coquitlam is budgeting nearly $1 million more for post-pandemic relief to residents, businesses and groups this and next year.
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Coquitlam city hall is preparing for the post-pandemic opening that's due to start in September; it's rolling out $950,000 in grants and support programs to residents, businesses and groups this and next year to transition to normal operations.

Coquitlam city hall is set to spend about $1 million more to help residents, businesses and non-profit groups recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday (July 12), the city’s council-in-committee heard about the $950,000 that will come from the Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP) — a $5-million program that the municipality launched last May, as the provincial health orders took shape to contain the virus.

But as restrictions ease this summer and with Stage 3 of BC’s Restart program now underway, city staff are planning to continue some CSRP supports and offer new programs and services as the world returns to normal operations in September.

Among the last suite of CSRP initiatives budgeted for this and next year is for:

Maillardville seasonal lighting

  • $75,000 
  • To light about 20 trees on Brunette Avenue from Lougheed Highway to Woolridge Street as well as install decorative lights at the north end of Mackin Park, as part of a pilot project

Community Volunteer Support Hub

  • $75,000 in 2021; $150,000 in 2022
  • To continue the resource centre that was launched in April to help non-profit groups impacted during the pandemic

Get Connected, Get Active

  • $300,000
  • To restart the financial aid program in the fall, with improvements such as a streamlined application process, 50 drop-in visits and a $225 credit to eligible participants, and a promotional campaign

Block parties

  • $15,000
  • To double the grant this year from $150 to $300 for outdoor gatherings in neighbourhoods

City Centre parking

  • $220,000 (in lost parking and ticketing revenues)
  • To continue to allow for 30 minutes of free parking until the end of the year

Pop-up parks

  • $150,000 in 2021; $100,000 in 2022
  • To provide more outdoor gathering spots in urban locations; currently, there are two parklets in City Centre and Austin Heights (the Burquitlam parklet is due to open on July 16)

Economic development

  • $12,000
  • To continue marketing and promoting Coquitlam businesses to the end of the year

Meals for pavilion members

  • $43,000 in 2021; $50,000 in 2022
  • To keep the Meals for Seniors delivery program at Dogwood and Glen Pine 50+ centres until early 2022

Reduced drop-in rates

  • $600,000
  • To keep the recreation fees of $1 per child, $2 per adult or $5 per family until Sept. 7

Community support and cultural partner grants

  • To continue with the Revenue Replacement and Pandemic Response streams — of which $200,000 has already been handed out since last May — until this fall, with the Spirit Grant program returning next year; as well, the city has doled out $415,000 to date to the city’s five cultural centres: Coquitlam Public Library, Evergreen Cultural Centre, Place des Arts, Place Maillardville and Coquitlam Heritage Society

“Local community groups continue to struggle adjusting to post-COVID restart operations, especially with volunteer recruitment, training and retention, and are seeking continued support from the city,” wrote deputy city manager Raul Allueva, in his report to the committee.

In total, the city has spent $3.8 million on CSRP initiatives since last May.

Still, some will be dropped as the pandemic winds down, Allueva told the committee on July 12. These include the pro-bono community legal services and the temporary shelters in outdoor spaces.

Allueva said he’ll provide an update to council later this year to report on the CSRP conclusion.

During the committee discussion, Coun. Brent Asmundson pressed for seasonal lighting to also be included this winter along Austin Avenue and Pinetree Way.

Jaime Boan, Coquitlam’s general manager of engineering and public works, said an interdepartmental group has been struck to look at neighbourhood beautification that will also include seasonal lights in other locations.

And Coun. Steve Kim, a volunteer with the Meals for Seniors program, said more than 25,000 deliveries have been made since it began last spring while Coun. Bonita Zarrillo asked if the seniors phone buddy and park hosts programs would remain on a permanent basis.