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Here's where Coquitlam is investing the $5.6M in grant funding it recently received

With grants from senior governments, Coquitlam aims to fund an outdoor pool, upgrade sidewalks and provide support to agencies serving homeless people
spani pool
Spani Pool in Coquitlam is set for a major rebuild, with completion set for 2023 and swimming for 2024.

A city is granted funding because it's said to have taken several measures to ensure the community's needs are met.

In the case of Coquitlam, millions of dollars are set to be funnelled to what it calls "important" projects, whether it's recreational, social or economic.

The city has been granted more than $5.6 million in recent months thanks to provincial and federal resources.

Spokesperson Michelle Hunt explains by applying for the extra help, space is free for municipal funds to be used in other areas of service.

"As part of its fiscally responsible approach, the City works throughout the year to research and secure grant opportunities and seek corporate partnerships and other funding sources to augment revenue from property taxes," Coquitlam's general manager of finance, lands and police said in a statement today (Sept. 28).

"This approach helps the City improve services or deliver projects earlier and with less impact on taxpayers. In some cases, the grants support local services that might not typically be provided by the City but are important for community resiliency."

So where are the newly-granted funds going? What's going to be upgraded?

Here are the grants broken down and summarized:

Canada's Infrastructure Program

  • $4.4 million
  • Spani Outdoor Pool renewal project

Coquitlam's Mundy Park is 50 years old and in dire need of an upgrade — most residents are able to see its age when they utilize the area for their own recreational needs.

Fortunately, the city was able to harness $2.41 million in federal funding and $2.01 million from the B.C. government for the project that's aimed to be completed by 2023.

The money is set to pay for a new leisure pool with a shallow beach entry, a splash area and lazy river, the addition of a changing room and washroom facility, as well as upgrades in Spani's plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems.

The total cost of the upgrades is upwards of $12.4 million with the city contributing more than $8 million to cover the rest.

Construction to modernize the pool's complex and surrounding space is set to begin after the 2022 swimming season.

Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program

  • $500,000
  • Austin Avenue upgrade

Coquitlam's most recent grant approval came on Sept. 17 courtesy of the B.C. government and its ministry of transportation and infrastructure.

With the $500,000, new sidewalks are being created this fall on the north side of Austin Avenue between Guilby and Walker streets.

"The project will complete the sidewalk along the north side of Austin, providing another safe pedestrian option along this important transportation spine," the city of Coquitlam explains.

Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM)

  • $465,000
  • Development and building permits

This boost from the province is set to help pick up the pace on housing- and construction-project approvals by creating an efficient online portal.

It will enable Coquitlam to "automate and simplify" the application process, provide more information and improve communication between interested companies and the city.

It's also part of B.C.'s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and was approved through UBCM's Local Government Development Approvals program.

  • $306,081
  • Education on homelessness

The money is earmarked for training and education, as well as Coquitlam social service providers in expanding outreach opportunities after city council noticed a rise in its most vulnerable population since the COVID-19 pandemic took effect in March 2020.

The grant is set to pay for the Homelessness Services Association of BC to educate up to 50 city staff members about how to respond to the needs of the homeless.

With $35,000 set aside for city staff training, the rest will be distributed to the Phoenix Society ($201,271) for two new outreach workers and one mental health worker, as well as the Hope for Freedom Society ($70,010) to add up to three new workers for its outreach team. 

The grant was applied through the UBCM's Strengthening Communities Program.