CANDIDATE FOR PORT COQUITLAM COUNCIL: Laura Dupont

As one of three citizen advisors on the city's transportation solutions and public works committee, Laura Dupont says she is in touch with commuter issues in Port Coquitlam.

"If we don't put some serious thought into planning well and making sure we have better transit options, we are going to have gridlock," the labour-endorsed candidate said. "We've got such a great community but we've got too many cars on the road and it's only going to get worse."

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Pressed on more specific solutions, Dupont said she would fight for direct and frequent bus service from central locations in PoCo to Coquitlam Town Centre when the Evergreen Line opens in 2016.

She said she would also like to see better connectivity for cyclists and have a Fremont connector steer away from Cedar Drive.

When it comes to growth in the Dominion Triangle, Dupont said she would like to see more diversity that includes small local business.

"I don't want an all-or-nothing area," she said, adding, "The city needs to help small- and medium-sized business, too, but I don't have a magic bullet as to how we are going to do that."

Port Coquitlam, she said, already has a low business tax rate, which makes it competitive against other Metro Vancouver municipalities, "and I don't think the city can go much lower."

Dupont says she likes how the city has initiated a program to celebrate local companies and wants it to do more to encourage shoppers to buy local.

A Buy Local campaign - similar to the one launched this fall by several businesses in Port Moody - would drum up interest, she said. And having a specific clause in the city's purchasing policy to promote PoCo businesses first "would be brilliant," Dupont said.

As for the arts, Dupont said PoCo is lacking a venue to host major events, adding, "Leigh Square is good but it's not big enough."

Website: lauradupont.ca

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