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$9.4M to help Port Coquitlam with 'ambitious' capital plan: mayor

What should Port Coquitlam do with $9.4 million from the B.C. government's surplus?
An upgrade is planned for Leigh Square in Port Coquitlam.

A $9.4-million cash infusion from the B.C. government improves an "already good position" for the City of Port Coquitlam, says Mayor Brad West.

PoCo will receive the funds as part of the Growing Communities Fund, announced last week, and West said it will be up to council to decide what to do with the money in a "collective" decision.

The city is waiting for government information on how the additional funds can be used; however, the money must be earmarked for infrastructure improvements.

Consequently, there could be some enhancements to the list of projects that are already underway, said West, such as neighbourhood rehabilitation and athletic field improvements.

As well, larger projects are in the works, such as an upgrade to Leigh Square and the addition of a new Terry Fox statue to the Port Coquitlam Community Centre, and West said the new funds could be used for some of these projects in PoCo's "ambitious" capital plan.

"There’s a number of different projects we have either in the planning stages or are preparing to go to contract on. I’m sure council will take those things into consideration as well," West said.

Downtown rehabilitation

Work is already underway on renovating Veterans Park and later this spring work is expected on a project to enhance Leigh Square into a festival space.

Meanwhile, public input for how the Growing Communities Fund will be spent will likely be gathered through the ongoing budget survey, where people can comment on the city's needs.

The city is proposing a 3.38 per cent tax increase for the year.

West noted that Port Coquitlam has put a lot of "hard work" into crafting a "responsible" budget for the coming year and has the "lowest tax rate in the entire Metro Vancouver region."

He said the additional provincial funds will augment the city's financial situation.

"Additional funding we weren’t expecting improves an already good position that we're in in Port Coquitlam."