Skip to content

Coquitlam got $146M richer last year despite COVID-19 challenges. Here's why

Coquitlam’s bottom line last year proved to be its strongest yet.

Despite hundreds of civic layoffs — and changes to the way city hall operated and delivered programs and services — during the pandemic lockdown, Coquitlam’s bottom line last year proved to be its strongest yet.

According to the 2020 annual report and Development Cost Charges (DCC) document, which were received on Monday by council-in-committee, the municipality finished the year with $146 million in the public purse.

Michelle Hunt, Coquitlam’s general manager of finance, lands and police, attributed the surplus to a strong development market that she said slowed last spring but picked up in earnest later in the year.

As well, cuts made to the payroll as well as “workplace adjustments” that resulted in lower costs also improved the financial sheet, she said.

“2020 was like none other,” Hunt told the committee on June 28. “With the onset of the global pandemic, the city closed its facilities, suspended programs in some areas, transitioned to other services and programs, and changed the operating model in many areas, including more online services and more initiatives to support public health.”

While the city only took in $1 million in casino revenues because of its closure — down from the usual $6 million or so annually — the overall financial picture for Coquitlam was positive, with a net worth of about $2.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2020 (75% of that amount is in capital projects, facilities, roads, etc.).

The city saw a net increase of $71 million in tangible capital assets, and its debt decreased from $15.9 million to $14.6 million (which is paid for with development fees); its cash position also rose by $129 million, to $916 million.

Last year’s DCC revenues were nearly $1.9 million higher than in 2019, Hunt said, for a total of $21.7 million (net of credits and rebates).

As for the $421 million that the city took in last year in consolidated revenues, they came in from: 

  • taxation: 42% ($178 million)
  • fees, rates and service charges: 26% ($111 million)
  • municipal land sales: 10% ($41 million)
  • DCC: 9% ($39 million)
  • grants and grants-in-lieu: 5% ($21 million)
  • investment income: 5% ($19 million)
  • casino: 0.5% ($1 million)
  • cost recoveries: 2% ($10 million)
  • penalties and interest on taxes: 0.5% ($1 million)

On the expenses side, the city spent money last year on: 

  • police, fire and other protection: 27% ($73 million)
  • water, sewer and solid waste: 26% ($71 million)
  • parks, recreation and culture: 21% ($59 million)
  • engineering and public works: 14% ($37 million)
  • general government: 8% ($23 million)
  • planning: 4% ($10 million)

During her annual report presentation, Hunt received no feedback from council or residents during the open meeting. Information about the report can be read at

Under provincial legislation, the city is required to make public its annual and DCC reports. Hunt said she’ll also be speaking this fall with members of the Urban Development Institute, as per its commitment to the organization.

Meanwhile, community groups in Coquitlam have until July 15 to apply for a pandemic-response grant of up to $10,000 for their programs, as well as up to $5,000 to replace lost revenues.

The funding comes through the city’s $5-million Community Support and Recovery Plan. Visit