It’s all for one and fun for all in Port Coquitlam – at least, that’s the idea.
Following city council’s inauguration Nov. 8, Mayor Brad West laid out a plan for fiscal responsibility and a transformed downtown over the next term.
“Rarely has a council been given the opportunity to make such a big mark on our future,” he told the crowd assembled at Port Coquitlam Community Centre. “It’s an awesome responsibility.”
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This council will aim to make its mark by turning Port Coquitlam’s downtown the “perfect venue” for festivals and events, West said.
Port Coquitlam’s downtown should be safe, open late, and replete with a wide range of places to eat, drink and be entertained, “that give residents more reason to come downtown and stay downtown,” West said.
The city has already taken a number of steps to transform downtown including a $4.3 million revamp of McAllister Avenue and an overhaul of Veterans Park and Leigh Square.
“This next year, that work will accelerate with projects that will bring new energy, vibrancy, and amenities right to our doorstep,” West said.
“By the way, fun is going to be a priority for the next four years,” West told the crowd. “We are going to leave no doubt that, when it comes to Metro Vancouver, Port Coquitlam is going to be the fun city.”
West also emphasized the need to focus on core services ranging from good roads and maintained parks and playgrounds to new sidewalks and “streets that are plowed when it snows and a city that is clean and inviting.”
“That’s what you send your tax dollars to city hall for, and that’s what we will deliver,” he pledged.
West concluded his remarks by discussing the challenges of housing and climate change.
In terms of housing, West said the city would continue to seek partnerships in order to get non-market, affordable housing built in Port Coquitlam.
West also promised to work to prevent flooding as extreme weather events become more frequent.
“Over the next term you’ll see more work to build a resilient community including continued investments in making it easier get around our city outside of a vehicle,” he said.
West also noted that the city’s history of resilience dates back more than a century.
“Back then, the easy decision would’ve been to remain part of Coquitlam . . . don’t boo,” he advised the crowd.
In discussing the next four years, West frequently underscored the need to make decisions that will benefit working families.
“As your mayor I will work with council to ensure that this remains a place where people of regular means can provide a better life for their family,” he said.
Notes from Downtown
Last summer, the city announced the planned sale of three downtown properties as part of its strategy to offer more real estate for commercial and retail use.
In July, council voted to replace two single-family homes with a 50-unit, six-storey apartment at the corner of Shaughnessy Street and Atkins Avenue.
In March, council-watcher Nancy Furness objected to the trees being chopped at Veterans Park and Leigh Square. Trees were replanted at a roughly 2-1 ratio.
In September 2021, Coun. Dean Washington described feeling increasingly uncomfortable downtown.
“My concern is that there is an increase of undesirable people in our downtown, not just the parks. The open drug use is all over,” he told Coquitlam RCMP during a council meeting.
To read more about the city’s downtown revitalization plan, click here.