COQUITLAM, B.C., Jan. 18, 2022 – Coquitlam has approved an Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) that will guide decisions and ensure the long-term resiliency and sustainability of the community.
Given the extreme weather events in recent years, and especially in 2021, Coquitlam’s Environmental Sustainability Plan is timely as it includes new greenhouse gas emission targets and climate action initiatives. It brings together the City’s existing environmental goals, objectives, supportive programs and policies with new goals, strategies and actions into a single, cohesive strategy. The Plan also provides a clear but flexible framework to support the City’s decision-making.
The final ESP is organized into five themes: Climate Action, Built Environment, Waste Management, Water Management and Natural Areas, Wildlife and Habitat. Each theme provides context of the issues, describes the City’s progress to-date, and introduces social and economic co-benefits before leading into forward-looking goals, focused strategies and detailed actions to support environmental sustainability for the future of Coquitlam.
Coquitlam’s ESP recognizes that the sustainability of our environment is key not only for ensuring ecological resilience, but also for maintaining local economic prosperity and for supporting the quality of life of the community.
Development of the ESP
The ESP was developed through comprehensive research and analysis, as well as through extensive public engagement, over a four-phase process that began in spring 2019. In total, through the entire project development, the team had more than 1,600 survey responses, more than 4,500 comments and 35 pop-up, in-person or virtual engagement opportunities.
In the most recent round of engagement in fall 2021, the public and stakeholders were invited to review the draft ESP and provide feedback. This included pop-up booths, virtual and in-person presentations, conversations with Council Advisory Committees and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation.
Approximately 500 people responded to an online survey and 78% of respondents said they were either “very supportive” or “somewhat supportive” of the draft ESP. A summary of the feedback is provided in the What We Heard infographic.
This feedback was used to revise and refine the ESP including:
- Additional language and context related to the Regional Growth Strategy and concentrating growth within the Urban Containment Boundary.
- New actions that support safe cycling opportunities, mass timber construction, sockeye salmon restoration in collaboration with kʷikʷəƛ̓əm First Nation and other partners, innovation and green technology, water meter-ready development, etc.
- Stronger language for a number of actions (e.g. Implement a single-use item bylaw that reflects the regional approach developed by Metro Vancouver).
- Various updates to a number of strategies and actions to improve clarity.
- First Nations acknowledgement and future involvement in collaborating on actions with a shared interest.
Next Steps and Implementing the ESP
The ESP’s implementation plan is summarized in a table that includes a final list of 135 actions, anticipated timelines, high-level cost estimates and lead City departments.
The ESP also includes sections on how the City’s environmental goals and strategies will be implemented, monitored and measured. To monitor Coquitlam’s progress, the ESP Dashboard provides a snapshot of measurable targets and trends to track successes over time. Key performance indicators (KPIs) tracking will start in 2022 and the first progress report is expected to be shared in 2023.
From the total list of actions, a Top 10 list of priority actions was identified for implementation starting in 2022. The City’s 2022 Business Plan includes three of these priority actions including a Climate Action Plan, an E-mobility Plan, and an Urban Forest Management Plan. Each of these related plans will involve broad collaboration with the community, businesses and other levels of government including First Nations. Additionally, staff will begin implementing other short-term actions that are captured in various 2022 departmental work plans.
A review and update of the ESP will happen on a five to 10-year schedule, consistent with other corporate plans.
Residents are encouraged to stay informed about the project and 2022 priorities by subscribing for email updates at letstalkcoquitlam.ca/enviroplan. More background on the project is available on the City’s website at coquitlam.ca/enviroplan.
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