With the advancement of a wide variety of environmental initiatives across many City departments, the City is developing a strategic Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) to incorporate the City’s various environmental goals and objectives and supporting programs and policies into an overarching strategy that will provide a clear and flexible framework to help guide future decisions and ensure the long term resiliency and sustainability of the community.
The ESP will be developed around five key themes, which include:
Find out more about each theme area below.
An online engagement portal at letstalkcoquitlam.ca/enviroplan offers blog updates on the project, a timeline, resources and documents, contact information and more. Sign up at letstalkcoquitlam.ca for updates on the Environmental Sustainability Plan.
The first phase of the ESP project began in May 2019 and involved cross-department staff engagement to confirm and refine the key themes for the ESP, and to identify the City’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in relation to these themes. Phase I included an internal document analysis, an inter-municipal survey, and assembling information on the environmental planning and programs of similar municipalities within the Lower Mainland region.
During the second phase of the ESP project, we asked for feedback from the public, external stakeholders and focus groups to ensure that the themes of the ESP reflect the values and vision of the community, and to help the City identify and prioritize the goals, objectives and implementation strategy for the ESP. The public engagement strategy included a combination of surveys and in-person “pop-up” events, as well as focused dialogue with key stakeholder groups.
Staff reported back to council on the results of the initial phase of the ESP project on June 25, 2020. The report is available here: Strategic Priorities Standing Committee Meeting June 25 2020 Environmental Sustainability Plan Update
This phase will include developing the content for the ESP, taking into consideration the feedback received through the internal review and public consultation. Feedback on the Draft ESP will be collected from staff through an interdepartmental Project Support Team, key stakeholders, public consultation and a peer review. The Draft ESP will subsequently be presented to Council in early 2021 for review and feedback.
This final phase of the project will include incorporating the feedback received on the draft plan and presenting the final version for Council’s endorsement. Recommendations for implementation and monitoring the long-term success of the plan will also be included for Council’s endorsement. The Environmental Sustainability Plan will be completed the summer of 2021.
The Climate Action theme includes topics covering energy management, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction and climate adaptation. The City is a signatory to the provincial climate action charter, and has established GHG emissions reduction targets of 40% by 2025 for its corporate operations, as well as, 15% by 2031 and 30% by 2021 for its community-wide and per capita emissions, respectively. In addition, Coquitlam is acting to reduce the impacts of a changing climate by developing a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy to identify climate risks and corresponding risk mitigation strategies.
The Water Management theme includes topics covering water conservation, water quality and storm water management. The City’s Water Conservation Program is robust by regional standards, employing a range of tools, including bylaws, education and incentives. The City has conducted extensive water quality monitoring of the Coquitlam River from 2012 to 2016, which resulted in the removal of the Coquitlam River from the Top 10 List of Endangered Rivers of BC. The City has bylaw requirements in place to protect watercourses from development impacts, such as soil erosion and sedimentation. The City has also completed Integrated Watershed Management Plans (IWMPs) for the City’s urban watersheds, and a City-wide Rainwater Management Strategy is in place to help maintain base flows in streams, prevent erosion, improve water quality and protect fish habitat.
The Built Environment theme includes topics covering urban design, transportation and buildings. The City incorporates sustainability considerations into its City planning efforts, which includes the design of complete streets and compact neighbourhoods that provide strategic densification around defined urban centres. Through this approach the City is directing over 50% of its growth into transit-oriented neighbourhoods that allow people to make more sustainable transportation and housing choices, and provides access to local amenities, jobs, shopping, etc., while also maintaining access to parks, open spaces and connection to green spaces and nature. The Citywide Official Community Plan (2002), the Strategic Transportation Plan (2012); and the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan and Implementation Strategy (2017) guide the overall future of the City with a framework for managing change and positions the City for residential and commercial growth over the next several years.
The Natural Areas, Wildlife and Habitat theme includes topics covering natural areas, parks green space, watercourses, shorelines, riparian areas, biodiversity, wildlife and habitat, and forest and tree management. Coquitlam has 805 hectares (1,988 acres) of natural green space that provides significant ecological value. Coquitlam has an inter-connected system of natural and semi-natural areas, including terrestrial, freshwater and riparian areas, several watersheds, including the lower Coquitlam River and the Coquitlam Lake reservoir, and connections to the Fraser River. These areas are ecologically diverse and provide critical ecosystem services, including habitat for many plants and animals and social, recreational, economic and environmental benefits to the community. The City is also currently the only Bear-Smart certified community within the Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley Regional Districts.
The Waste Management theme includes topics covering reducing, reusing and recycling solid waste (garbage, recyclables, organics and green waste). The City provides curbside collection services to approximately 26,000 single family and duplex households, along with a variety of additional services such as large item pick-up and seasonal unlimited yard waste collection. The City also manages a newly enhanced staff-serviced Town Centre Depot, operational since 2018, to promote recycling and minimize the potential for illegal dumping. The Town Centre Depot also provides an opportunity for direct communication and education on waste reduction and recycling to residents visiting the site.