The city of Vancouver last month marked 10 years since it launched its 311 contact centre, a service aimed to help residents with municipal services and issues.
Now, the city of Port Coquitlam is following suit with a similar program called See It? Report It — timed as civic staff step up enforcement patrols for smoking and animal control.
“We know our staff can’t be everywhere at all times so we appreciate our residents’ help by reporting problems they come across,” Mayor Brad West said in a news release. “The faster we know of a problem, the more proactive we can be about addressing it.
Residents and business owners can call the See It? Report It hotline at 604-927-3111 to be directed to the correct city department: public works, bylaw, etc.
But there’ll be nobody around to take the calls in person after regular working hours. Instead, callers can leave a message for staff to follow up the next business day (road, water or sewer emergencies will be handled by the public works dispatch service 24/7).
Pardeep Purewal, PoCo’s communications manager, said while reports of potholes, off-leash dogs and smoking in parks are encouraged, the public shouldn’t call the hotline if there’s an immediate danger such as a fire, downed power lines or a car crash — for those, residents should call 911.
As well, complaints or concerns about general city- and customer service-related issues like permit requests or budget items shouldn’t go through the hotline.
No extra funds were spent on the program rollout and existing staff will be used to handle the calls. Still, city managers will monitor the response and “if we find that there is an increase in demand for services or increased use of the [Waste-line] app, we will review the need to bring forward a request to council for additional resources as required,” Purewal said.
In the past decade, Vancouver’s 311 hotline has taken 7.75 million calls.