The city of Coquitlam is allocating $5 million in assistance for residents, businesses and non-profits struggling from the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While exact details for the Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP) are still being discussed, staff said the funds could be used for targeted grants, waived city fees, technology investments and marketing to support local businesses. The city also wants to make sure it has money available to compliment provincial and federal cost-sharing initiatives.
“It is about a longer-term perspective,” said deputy city manager Raul Allueva during a council meeting Monday night. “This pandemic is a multi-year impact on us and the community. The goal is to be able to support our community through the entire process of the recovery.”
He added that staff would be engaging council in the coming months on a variety of initiatives that could be incorporated into the plan.
While municipalities like Port Moody and Port Coquitlam have responded to the COVID-19 crisis by eliminating or reducing their property tax increase, Mayor Richard Stewart said Coquitlam was taking a more targeted approach. He noted that tax breaks only benefit property owners, while the CSRP could be used to help a range of residents and businesses.
“We need to be a lot more more targeted,” he said. “If we are going to target a program to aid our residents, we should target those who need our help… As a homeowner, it is probably not me.”
The $5 million in preliminary funding is not the only thing the city said it is doing to support residents struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.
Property owners will be able to delay paying their taxes until Sept. 30, while the penalty for late payment has been reduced from 10% to 5%. The city is also looking at federal and provincial stimulus money that could be used to fund city capital projects.
According to the staff report, CSRP initiatives will be further outlined as part of the city’s 2021 budget consultation process that is expected to begin this summer.
• For more information about the city of Coquitlam’s efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, go to www.coquitlam.ca/covid19, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-927-4383.