Provincial leaders met with Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart and council today (March 3) at city hall after the government announced it would sink $1 billion into every B.C. community to handle more residents.
The Growing Communities Fund, as announced by Premier David Eby, is the single biggest provincial allocation in municipalities and regional districts in the province’s history.
For the Tri-Cities, it translates to (in descending numerical order):
- Coquitlam: $18,635,000
- Port Coquitlam: $9,462,000
- Port Moody: $6,734,000
- Anmore: $1,730,000
- Belcarra: $759,000
By comparison, Burnaby took in $28.7 million, Vancouver received $49.1 million and Victoria got $12.8 million, while Metro Vancouver Regional District reaped $50.7 million, to pay for capital projects such as roads, community centres and waste-water treatment plants.
Stewart told the Tri-City News he's not sure yet how the Coquitlam money will be spent; however, he "welcomed" the one-time cash injection to pay for new or upgraded infrastructure.
He also made clear the grant would not be used to offset property tax increases this year, which will be a 5.48 per cent rise over the 2022 rate.
According to a news release, the province used a funding formula to reflect the communities’ population sizes and growth targets; the money is expected to come later this month.
The grants also honour a resolution from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) that passed last year.
"The transfer of these funds provides massive investments for every local government in the province," UBCM president Jen Ford said in the release.
"This new funding will allow communities to accelerate the replacement of aging systems, and expansion to current services to better meet the demands of growing populations. The approach of providing funding upfront will ensure that these funds are directed to the most urgent priorities identified in each community."
Coquitlam–Burke Mountain MLA Fin Donnelly called the investment "bold."
"Supporting local governments will help ensure services, infrastructure and community amenities are well-maintained for people now and into the future," he stated.
Grants under the Growing Communities Fund — a result of the provincial government's surplus — can also be applied toward amenities for new home construction.