COQUITLAM, B.C., Dec. 7, 2021 – Coquitlam’s investment in pandemic relief will approach nearly $4 million when it winds down its award-winning Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP) at the end of 2022.
Since spring 2020, about $3.3 million in CSRP programs have helped Coquitlam residents, businesses, not-for-profit groups and other organizations through the most difficult periods of the pandemic.
That support will grow to $3.9 million by the end of next year, when the 3-year program officially wraps up, Council heard at last night’s meeting. The initiative, which has had Council support since inception, was recognized this year with a Presidents Committee Choice Award from the Union of B.C. Municipalities the CSRP program successfully fostered community resilience and recovery.
Supporting the Community through the Pandemic
Coquitlam launched the CSRP in 2020 as the widespread impacts of the pandemic began to be felt. Designed to support all sectors of the community, CSRP projects and initiatives have been funded through existing City resources, the BC Safe Restart Grant and a dedicated CSRP Reserve.
The impact of the CSRP was felt community-wide. Grants helped local organizations stay afloat, marketing initiatives drove customers to local businesses, and new online and streamlined procedures helped keep construction going. New meal delivery and telephone outreach programs supported isolated seniors, tax and utility deadline extensions gave property owners some relief, and discounted drop-in rates encouraged residents to stay active and healthy.
As services return to typical levels and the impacts of the pandemic continue to wane, the City will maintain a handful of CSRP programs through 2022, including the seniors’ meal program, seasonal lighting in Maillardville, volunteer support for community organizations and increased recreation financial aid.
While the CSRP will formally wind-down at the end of 2022, support will continue through returning programs such as Spirit Grants and ONE PASS recreation discount cards.
Some CSRP Programs Continue into 2022
Current programs earmarked to continue into 2022 include:
- The Meals for Seniors frozen meal delivery and pickup program, which has provided about 27,000 meals since March 2020 and recently added a social visit component;
- A Community Volunteer Support Hub that has been reaching out to 120 community groups with workshops and online resources to build capacity and connect with volunteers;
- Continued enhancements to the Financial Assistance for Recreation program that saw 1,357 households apply within two months of its September re-launch, including 242 new ones;
- A pop-up park program that logged about 31,000 visits to the three temporary outdoor leisure spaces installed in urban neighbourhoods in the summer of 2021;
- A program allowing businesses to serve customers in public rights-of-way such as sidewalks, used by 38 businesses;
- Decorative lighting on streets and in Mackin Park in Maillardville to brighten up the winter nights; and
- Other City process and procedure improvements including relaxed sign regulations, increased digital submissions and online file transfers, and two-stage security fees that extend the deadline for paying certain types of development fees.
Earlier Investments Supported All Sectors
A number of earlier CSRP initiatives throughout 2020 and 2021 provided much-needed assistance to individuals, businesses and community organizations alike, including:
- Grants totalling $280,000 for community and not-for-profit groups affected by the pandemic;
- Grants totalling $415,000 for the City’s cultural partners to support public programs: Coquitlam Public Library, Place des Arts, Coquitlam Heritage Society, Society Place Maillardville and Evergreen Cultural Centre;
- Grants totalling $100,000 for SHARE’s food bank and rent banks;
- Expansion of the City’s free public Wi-Fi network to civic parks and facilities;
- Doubling of the $150 Block Party program grants in 2021 to promote neighbourhood connections;
- Business supports such as waived late fees for business licences, 30 minutes of free parking in City Centre to promote shopping, Support Local campaigns and an online business information portal;
- Support for safe physical activity including reduced recreational drop-in rates and development of a Coquitlam Connect Bike Map;
- Tax and utility bill payment deadline extensions and reduced late payment penalties in 2020;
- Free booking and use of temporary shelters in outdoor spaces that saw 7,000 visits and 500 reservations over eight months; and
- A Coquitlam Neighbourhood Small Grants for grassroots community-building projects.
About Coquitlam’s Community Support and Recovery Plan
Introduced in spring 2020, Coquitlam’s COVID-19 Community Support and Recovery Plan was designed to be a multi-phased recovery strategy made up of programs and initiatives supporting all facets of the community through the pandemic. Recognized with an award in 2021 from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the CSRP has provided targeted immediate and long-term support for businesses, residents and the not-for-profit sector. Some initiatives are continuing into 2022 as the program winds down. Information about the CSRP is posted at www.coquitlam.ca/csrp.
Manager, Corporate Planning
City of Coquitlam