Year in Review, part 4

If you’re a fan of elections – and really, who isn’t? – 2022 was a great year. In addition to (briefly) watching a Gleneagle grad challenge David Eby for leadership of the NDP, we also got a doozy of a municipal election.

In both Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, incumbency all but guaranteed re-election. In Port Moody, not so much. Voters in the City of the Arts elected four newcomers. (They nearly elected five, but for the hands of fate and a blind name draw.)

The end of the year also brought us a fire at Minnekhada, an unhappy intersection of real estate prices and doctor’s offices, as well as a bizarre legal challenge involving Metro Vancouver, a multinational contractor, and the leadership at Coquitlam city hall.

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3

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Function at the Westminster Junction: Port Coquitlam approves 300 units of non-market housing

A new affordable rental housing complex is set to rise in Port Coquitlam.

The 300-unit development with a childcare facility got city council’s stamp of approval on Sept. 20.

Full story here.

October

photo supplied Hagen Pflueger

Minnekhada fire spans nearly 14 hectares

What began as a small brushfire swelled to a 12-hectare blaze the following day due to the dry and unforgiving terrain.

More than 30 firefighters and five helicopters beat back the swelling wildfire. Still, It was nearly four weeks before the blaze was extinguished and the park was able to partially reopen in late October.

It may be a full year before Metro Vancouver has a complete reckoning of the damage done by the fire.

Full story here

Election season

Meghan Lahti reacts to the Port Moody election results at her campaign office in Port Moody, B.C. on Oct. 15, 2022. She is the first female mayor-elect in the city’s history. photo Marissa Tiel

Lahti elected Port Moody mayor

Port Moody voters elected the city’s first female mayor.

Meghan Lahti won approximately 55 percent of the vote during the Oct. 15 municipal election, beating out fellow councillor Steve Milani by nearly 1,000 votes.

Full story here.

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Lubik wins final seat following blind draw

But while the mayor’s race was definitive, there was a lack of clarity when it came to the final seat on council.

While a count and a recount showed Dave Stuart winning by two votes, a judicial recount found the District of North Vancouver CAO in a deadlock with incumbent Amy Lubik

Lubik was eventually declared the winner after a blind name draw out of a box. However, both Lubik and Stuart advocated for a more comprehensive recount.

Full story here.

Port Coquitlam Mayor acclaimed, five councillors re-elected, Paige Petriw wins council seat

Port Coquitlam seems to like its council.

The five incumbents were also the top five vote-getters, with Nancy McCurrach topping the polls with 5,234 votes.

Full story here

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart re-elected in landslide; Djonlic and Mazzarolo to join council

With 69.5 percent of the vote, Richard Stewart is set to serve his final term as Coquitlam’s mayor – again.

Stewart had previously indicated that he would step away from the mayor’s chair after 2022. However, citing the need to reduce stigma around mental health, Stewart announced his plans to run for re-election in late August.

“I really want to complete that work, and I know of hundreds of local leaders across the province who want to see it completed,” he wrote. Stewart also emphasized the need to tackle the housing crisis while providing amenities such as the new community centres at Maillardville and Burquitlam.

Full story here.

ParentsVoice B.C. silenced on election night

A newly-formed school board slate came up short in the Tri-Cities, with each of its four candidates failing to win a seat.

photo supplied Council of Canadians

NDP disqualifies Anjali Appadurai from leadership race

A Gleneagle grad’s challenge for the leadership of the B.C. NDP came to a halt Wednesday evening.

The party’s executive made the decision to disqualify Anjali Appadurai for violating campaign rules, following the recommendation of the chief electoral officer.

With Appadurai out of the race, David Eby is set to succeed John Horgan as B.C. Premier.

Prior to the closed-door meeting, Appadurai used social media to urge the B.C. NDP executive to let the race continue.

“Don’t disqualify me and the thousands who want to build this party,” she wrote. “Trust the members and let the contest of ideas proceed.”

Related: Gleneagle grad challenges David Eby for NDP leadership

photo supplied Metro Vancouver

‘Astonishing how ill-prepared we are;’ Ravages of drought underscore the need for fundamental change

Over 74 days spanning the end of summer and the beginning of fall, Metro Vancouver’s watersheds got about 50 millimetres of rain – approximately one-thirteenth of the rainfall over the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, water use is up by 20 percent.

It’s crucial to examine what’s driving the pattern we’re seeing, explains Zafar Adeel, a professor at Simon Fraser University’s school of sustainable energy engineering and the executive director of the Pacific Water Research Centre.

“It’s a little bit astonishing how ill-prepared we are,” he says.

Full story here.

Following layoffs, 24 teachers now back in the classroom

With enrollment growing, School District #43 was able to bring back 24 teachers who were laid off earlier this year.

Citing financial pressures ranging from rising inflation to falling enrollment, the district planned to cut 24 teaching positions ahead of the 2022/23 school year.

However, the district’s financial position was strong enough to bring those teachers back, explained school district assistant director of communications Ken Hoff.

Full story here.

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Tri-Cities’ salmon return by storm

Salmon have returned to the Tri-Cities’ by storm, literally.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF) said returning fish were spotted at four locations in the Tri-Cities in late-October: Noons Creek, Hoy Creek, Oxbow channel off the Coquitlam River, and Hyde Creek.

At Noons Creek in Port Moody, dozens of coho salmon were seen directly in front of the hatchery.

Full story here.

Police watchdog clears Coquitlam cops after man dies following struggle with RCMP

There are no reasonable grounds to charge Coquitlam RCMP officers with a crime related to an incident last year in which a man died in hospital two days after being arrested near the 300-block of Balfour Drive.

Full story here.

November

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Long-time pastor, founder of Northside Foursquare Church, accused of sexual abuse

A Langley woman has filed a lawsuit against Northside Foursquare Church and pastor Barry Buzza, claiming the pastor sexually abused her and subjected her to “psychological, spiritual, and sexual grooming, abuse and exploitation.”

The lawsuit also alleges Buzza used his privilege and power as her pastor and as the woman’s father figure to gain her trust when she was most vulnerable.

Full story here.

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New $3.9 million urgent care and primary centre opens in Port Moody

A new, $3.9 million urgent and primary care centre opened at 3105 Murray Street.

With seven exam rooms, the health facility is expected to treat 70,000 patients each year for urgent but non-life threatening conditions like cuts and burns, as well as mental health and substance-abuse issues.

Full story here.

Coquitlam landlord owes $36,000 to former tenants after B.C. Supreme Court throws out petition

A Coquitlam landlord was ordered to pay more $36,000 dollars to her former tenants after the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed her petition to have a former ruling thrown out on Nov. 10.

The petitioner, Michelle Dubeau, argued the Residential Tenancy Branch’s (RTB) award to her former tenants in late 2020 was “patently unreasonable.”

Full story here.

Port Moody committee members reject reasons for bylaw change as ‘totally not true’

A recent Port Moody bylaw change could give developers an excuse for not having their applications reviewed, according to one committee member.

Port Moody council recently advanced an amendment that would allow projects to skirt the committee process if there are delays. Kate Zanon, the city’s general manager of community development, explained that some applications “have been trying to move forward since July.”

Full story here.

Multiple gunshots fired as police chase rolls across Metro Vancouver

Two suspects are in custody following a robbery, an exchange of gunfire and a police chase that stretched from Port Coquitlam to near the Coquitlam IKEA to Surrey.

Police scrambled to Lougheed Highway and Dominion Avenue at approximately 3:40 p.m. after getting a report of four armed suspects committing a robbery, according to a release from Coquitlam RCMP.

Full story here.

stock photo supplied Norma Mortenson

Coquitlam lays out smooth path for e-scooter rollout

Seven months after first consideration, Coquitlam gave the green light to a pilot project that will soon allow e-scooters to zip down Coquitlam streets at least until April 2024.

Riders must be 16 or older and the scooter isn’t allowed to hit speeds faster than 24 kilometres per hour. Riders do not need a driver’s licence.

Full story here.

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Port Coquitlam telecom workers win 5-year labour battle; employer ‘makes a mockery’ of bargaining process

Five years after joining a union and three years after commencing a strike, Port Coquitlam telecom employees have won a hard-fought labour victory against their employer.

The federal government’s Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) unanimously ruled on Nov. 10 that LTS Solutions, a subsidiary of Ledcor, “breached its duty to argue in good faith” with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Full story here.

Real estate unaffordability plaguing Tri-Cities doctors’ offices

Real estate unaffordability plagues nearly every corner of the Lower Mainland, including doctor’s offices.

It’s the biggest obstacle preventing family doctors from setting up shop in the Tri-Cities, said Kristan Ash, executive director of the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice.

Full story here.

file photo Jeremy Shepherd

Looking for the key to gridlock: Brad West reflects on taking top job on TransLink council

There could be some rapid changes coming to Port Coquitlam – but not necessarily rapid transit.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West recently reflected on his election – by acclimation, again – to become the new chair of the TransLink Mayors’ Council.

Full story here.

photo supplied George Kovacic

Coquitlam takes ‘huge step forward’ for Stoney Creek; councillor calls on city to think bigger

After sludge, spills, sewage and a fish kill, the long-embattled Stoney Creek got some good news Monday night.

Coquitlam council unanimously approved a new bylaw that would require real-time construction water quality monitoring for all major developments in the area.

The bylaw is “absolutely fantastic news,” said streamkeeper George Kovacic, who lauded mayor, council, city staff, local media as well as well as the Stoney Creek Environmental Committee for their work.

Full story here.

December

photo Patrick Penner

‘Shifting goalposts’: Coquitlam lab stuck in bureaucratic quagmire

Midway through the COVID-19 pandemic, long wait times on PCR test results were holding up film productions in Hollywood North.

It was one U.S.-based company’s ticket into the Canadian outpatient lab market.

“Time is money,” said Dr. Gio Miletto, medical director of the Omega Laboratories’ Coquitlam facility. “(Studios) couldn’t get the services they needed, essentially.”

Full story here.

Port Coquitlam ordered to pay $58K after firing a worker who washed his truck at municipal facility

A Port Coquitlam employee has won his wrongful dismissal suit against the city, after being fired for washing his personal vehicle at a municipal wash facility.

Marco Stevens, a supervisor in the public works department, was awarded nearly $58,000 in damages for wrongful dismissal in B.C. Supreme Court on Dec. 1.

Full story here.

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Parent/CPA/sports fan donates $120k for new Centennial scoreboard

Score one for the good guys.

Centennial Secondary is getting a scoreboard thanks to Sharon Perry, who announced a $110,000 donation.

Perry, a CPA, explained her desire to see some numbers on the field.

Full story here.

photo supplied

Coquitlam’s travelling teacher makes the world her classroom

Daun Yorke has travelled east and travelled west but her preferred direction is forward.

In a 30-year career as an educator, she has never stayed in one place, school or job for long, moving from the Tri-Cities to Vietnam and making a handful of stops between.

Full story here.

Contractor fined $2.8 million for spills that killed hundreds of fish in Coquitlam, Surrey creeks

A construction contractor has been fined $2.8 million for releasing contaminated water into salmon-bearing creeks in Coquitlam and Surrey in 2017.

Michels Canada Co., a construction contractor based out of Nisku, Alberta, was ordered to pay the sum on Dec. 6, after pleading guilty to two charges under the Fisheries Act.

Full story here.

Another family practice in Coquitlam facing demoviction by next Christmas

More Tri-Cities residents are at risk of losing their family doctors by Christmas 2023 as another clinic faces demoviction.

Five doctors, each treating between 1,000 and 2,000 patients out of Austin Family Practice in Coquitlam, have less than a year to find another location.

Full story here.

Twenty-four people dead in Coquitlam from toxic drug supply in 2022: Coroners report

As of Oct. 31, 24 people have died in Coquitlam so far this year from B.C.’s toxic illegal drug supply, according to the latest report from BC Coroners Service.

The city’s death toll is lower than the record set in 2021 (31 deaths), but it’s still a 400 percent increase over the last decade.

Emphasizing the worsening drug crisis and the relative failure of current policies, Port Moody-Coquitlam MP Bonita Zarrillo launched a petition aimed at expanding safe supply and eliminating criminal charges in some drug possession cases.

Noting that overdose deaths disproportionately affect racialized populations, Zarrillo advocated an approach that “stops treating drug users as criminals.”

Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam Liberal MP Ron McKinnon has also said he would support efforts at increased decriminalization.

Coquitlam’s city manager accused of funneling confidential info to daughter, according to Metro Vancouver court filings

Allegations of low-tech espionage involving Metro Vancouver, an international construction company and Coquitlam’s mayor and city manager are at the crux of a recent notice of application filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

None of the charges have been proven in court.

Metro Vancouver, the board responsible for sewer and drainage throughout the region, filed the claim against Acciona – a multinational conglomerate previously tasked with building the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant. The story was originally reported by CBC.

Full story here.

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