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Heat domes, homelessness & hate crimes: Coquitlam to launch a new public safety advisory committee

“This committee is going to be an opportunity for Coquitlam to look at all the measures we have in place to protect our citizens," says Coquitlam Coun. Craig Hodge, who is chair of the inaugural committee.

A group that will make recommendations to Coquitlam city council on public safety will launch this month.

The inaugural meeting of the Community Safety Advisory Committee is on March 31, with Coun. Craig Hodge as chair and Coun. Teri Towner as vice chair. 

The committee will also include officials from:

  • Hope for Freedom Society: Tom Bowlware (Andrea Corrigan as alternate)
  • School District 43: Kelly Zimmer 
  • Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce: Brett Johnston (Mary Vellani as alternate)
  • Tri-Cities Local Immigration Partnership: Thábata da Costa
  • Youth Council: Chloe Chen (Brandon Keenan as alternate)

Hodge said the group aims to tackle the city’s strategic plans and policies on such matters as emergency response during cold snaps and heat waves, business theft, homelessness and cultural hate incidents.

“This is going to be a very high-level committee,” said Hodge, who is also chair of the safety committee for the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), as well as co-chair of B.C.’s Local Government RCMP Contract Management Committee.

“There are many issues that need to be studied more in depth such as wildfire resiliency, road safety and climate action.”

And while Coquitlam RCMP and Coquitlam Fire Rescue won’t have official committee seats, representatives from those organizations will be at the table and make presentations to talk about current and emerging trends.

“There is an increasing concern from residents that we get this done, and council felt it was time,” Hodge said, adding, “This is happening because our citizens want a voice.”

Hodge said the first order of business on March 31 is to review the committee work plan for the year (ending this fall, with the civic election on Oct. 15), as well as the Terms of Reference. 

He stressed its work won’t replace or overlap other city work in progress.

In addition, the committee will look at how Coquitlam residents are impacted during extreme weather events like last fall’s Fraser Valley flooding, which resulted in gas and food rations — as well as business disruption for the flow of goods and services — in the Tri-Cities.

“This committee is going to be an opportunity for Coquitlam to look at all the measures we have in place to protect our citizens.”