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Coquitlam wins inaugural provincial award for its COVID-19 community support fund

The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) honoured the city's recovery program that's on track to provide close to $4 million in pandemic relief.
Coquitlam city hall on Guildford Way. | File photo

A Coquitlam support fund that's set to distribute nearly $4 million by early next year is being rewarded for its effectiveness and innovation.

The Union of B.C Municipalities (UBCM) has honoured the city's community support and recovery plan (CSRP) aimed to help its residents get through COVID-19 with its first-ever Presidents Committee Choice award at its convention in Vancouver this week.

According to UBCM, the recognition goes to the community that exhibited "outstanding response to the pandemic."

"The unique circumstances that communities across B.C. faced during this difficult time brought to light many innovative ways that local governments adapted to the impact of COVID-19," explained UBCM of the inaugural award.

Coquitlam's CSRP was created in spring 2020 when the pandemic was fully in effect. It provided a number of services to residents, businesses and organizations.

This included:

  • 2020 property tax and utility bill extensions for all property owners
  • Meals for Seniors frozen meal delivery and take-out service for isolated seniors
  • Reduced fees for pre-registered drop-in recreation programs
  • Revenue replacement and response grants for not-for-profit and community organizations
  • Donations to local food and rent banks
  • Expansion of public Wi-Fi and an interactive bike map on the Coquitlam Connect app
  • Initiatives to assist businesses, including...
    • Waived late fees for business licences
    • Temporary outdoor patio expansions
    • Free City Centre parking
    • Marketing campaigns

"More recent additions include a Community Volunteer Support Hub providing targeted assistance and development opportunities to not-for-profit organizations, an expanded and updated Financial Assistance for Recreation program, pop-up parks, and the doubling of block party grants in 2021 to support neighbourhoods safely coming together again," said Raul Allueva, Coquitlam's deputy city manager in a release.

"Most of the City’s investment in CSRP has been funded through existing budgets, by reallocating savings achieved through prudent fiscal management."

The program is set to continue into 2022 based on the needs of the community.

For more information, visit the City of Coquitlam's website.