Mayor Richard Stewart of Coquitlam (right)
The City of Coquitlam, BC elected a new mayor last November. Mayor Richard Stewart is a former BC Liberal MLA and City Councillor and he's set forth a fairly bold plan for his new council. It was all laid out in his inaugural address entitled "A Time of Action and Celebration".
In the address, he laid out what he dubbed a 100-Day Action Plan. His plan may not have received the same attention Mayor Robertson's lofty goal of eliminating homelessness received, however, given we're now into day 58, we thought it was worth some analysis.
On the transportation front, he outlines the need to get moving as quickly as possible on the construction of a new Evergreen light rapid transit line.
This is more than just a valued new transit option, it also presents tremendous opportunities for transit oriented growth that looks at higher densities and commercial and mixed-use development.
He acknowledges the economic crisis facing North America, and sets a tone of budget restraint by stating:
Departments have been asked to re-assign priorities within their existing budgets so that they can address emerging needs without additional costs. And we’ll undoubtedly make increased calls upon our very diligent, award-winning Financial Management team as we work our way through those challenges.
Stewart recognizes that more needs to be done to streamline the operations at Coquitlam City Hall. This is a common complaint of many residents and small businesses throughout Metro Vancouver.
We also need to streamline our services for business development. We need to continue to improve the turnaround time for application reviews, permits and licensing, so that we can be more responsive to the needs of those who would want to create jobs in our community. I want Coquitlam to be the easiest place in BC to create a job.
His goal to make Coquitlam the easiest place to create a job will be a tough one to accomplish, if not near impossible. It is worth noting that he makes no mention of trying to help spearhead a regional economic development strategy, which Metro Vancouver currently lacks.
Stewart's 100-Day Action Plan is focused on eight key areas including governance and team building; strategic partnerships; strategic plan and business planning; financial planning and facilities; planning and development; leisure and parks; engineering and public works and public safety.
Unlike Vancouver's Mayor, homelessness doesn't even register on Coqutlam's radar. Rather, the plan is more focused on solving issues that are traditionally the responsibility of cities.
On the issue of public safety, the Mayor makes a reference to getting rid of "undesirable" businesses in Coquitlam. He also makes mention of the fact Coquitlam recently expanded the ranks of the local RCMP.
The seven page inaugural address outlines a number of goals and priorities for the Metro Vancouver suburb. There's nothing in the 100-day plan that appears too out of reach. With only 42 days left, only time will tell if Stewart will be successful.