The park was major victory for me and the city

A neighbourhood green space tucked beside Maillard middle school in Coquitlam will be getting an upgrade.

On Monday, city council received the Rochester Park concept plan, a $3-million to $4-million proposal that would see the addition of a water play amenity, youth activity area, improved parking facilities and an enhanced trail network.

But there were two items missing from the report that caught council’s attention.

An off-leash area for dogs and an outdoor pool are not in the concept plan, amenities staff said were not appropriate for the small parcel of land that makes up the park.

The news was disappointing to Coun. Bonita Zarrillo, who noted that there are not a lot of green spaces in the neighbourhood where residents can walk their animals.

“I spent some time at the park on the weekend,” she said. “There is an awful lot of dogs. We need a space for the dogs. We need to make a dog off-leash area.”

Raul Allueva, the city’s general manager of parks and recreation, said amenities like a pool and an off-leash area may have to be considered for other parks and city land in the area.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/upgrade-proposals-for-coquitlam-s-rochester-park-1.1879262

If not a pool then a park that has amenities for girls and boys

Coquitlam designers have given Rochester Park new bones, inspired by old bones, in a $4.8-million remake that’s inspiring young climbers burning off steam as the new school year begins.

A new wooden climbing structure that evokes a dinosaur skeleton, a water play area and a slide replace an old wading pool and grass.

The evolution is a big hit with young park patrons who helped design the revamp.

Coquitlam’s Manager of Park Planning and Design Andre Isakov said the project was unique because children were consulted.

He hopes it inspires some to one day pursue landscaping or architecture.

“We’re trying to be inclusive, but also creative and engaging with the children.”

Original Article from CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/coquitlam-park-dinosaur-rochester-1.4285337

Pools are predominately used by girls and young women

Building outdoor pools may not be the most cost-effective use of Coquitlam residents’ tax dollars but they are still important amenities for the community.

That was the message from several Coquitlam councillors Monday after city staff presented a draft aquatic services strategy. The report called for upgrades to Spani and Eagle Ridge outdoor pools but did not outline a replacement for the decommissioned outdoor Rochester Pool

Parks staff noted in a presentation to council that most Metro Vancouver municipalities are phasing out outdoor pools mainly because they are expensive to maintain and can only be used for a few months each year.

But several Coquitlam councillors expressed disappointment at the findings, noting outdoor pools have been important community hubs for many neighbourhoods.

“Cost effectiveness is very important but it is not the only thing,” said Coun. Chris Wilson. “Sometimes, we need to look at what is best for different parts of our communities.”

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/outdoor-pools-too-costly-coquitlam-councillors-debate-1.1939498

Uber accessible taxis

Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam are joining the chorus of B.C. municipalities to call on the provincial government to allow Uber cars on their streets.

On Monday, councils in both municipalities voted to send letters to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to loosen the rules around ride-sharing.

Under the Passenger Transportation Act, ride-sharing is banned in B.C. despite the growing popularity around the world of such programs as Uber and Lyft, low-cost, smartphone app-based alternatives to taxis.

In Canada, Uber currently operates in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton, Quebec City, southwest Ontario, Calgary and more than 40 other cities. It is also used in some 350 cities in other countries.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/uber-sought-for-coquitlam-port-coquitlam-streets-1.2130640

Pets

A neighbourhood green space tucked beside Maillard middle school in Coquitlam will be getting an upgrade.

On Monday, city council received the Rochester Park concept plan, a $3-million to $4-million proposal that would see the addition of a water play amenity, youth activity area, improved parking facilities and an enhanced trail network.

ut there were two items missing from the report that caught council’s attention.

An off-leash area for dogs and an outdoor pool are not in the concept plan, amenities staff said were not appropriate for the small parcel of land that makes up the park.

The news was disappointing to Coun. Bonita Zarrillo, who noted that there are not a lot of green spaces in the neighbourhood where residents can walk their animals.

“I spent some time at the park on the weekend,” she said. “There is an awful lot of dogs. We need a space for the dogs. We need to make a dog off-leash area.”

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/upgrade-proposals-for-coquitlam-s-rochester-park-1.1879262

E-cigs

Anyone looking to light up an e-cigarette or a personal vaporizer in a civic building or outdoor pool area in Coquitlam will be asked to take it outside.

Signs are expected to go up in the coming weeks prohibiting the devices, which simulate smoking but, unlike traditional cigarettes, only emit vapours, not smoke.

The popularity of the products has outpaced government regulation and rules about where a person can “vape” are still unclear.

But Coquitlam Coun. Bonita Zarrillo put forward a motion, which was unanimously supported by council, prohibiting the use of the devices in civic buildings and outdoor pools. She said the issue was first brought to her attention when she received a letter from a resident who saw someone using an e-cigarette in the changing room at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.

Original Article from Tri-City News: www.tricitynews.com/news/signs-of-the-times-e-cigs-not-welcome-in-coquitlam-facilities-1.1966737

Rainbow Crosswalk – Part 3

Last week, a request for rainbow sidewalks received a mixed reaction at Coquitlam city hall.

This week, the nearby Evergreen Cultural Centre (ECC) gave a response of its own, installing the colours of the rainbow on large doors facing Guildford Way.

On Wednesday, just before hundreds of people filed into city hall for its annual Welcome to Coquitlam gathering, ECC installed a rainbow covering on the glass door entrance to Studio D, a rental space used for teaching.

The public statement is timely. Not only is the venue hosting this week the show End of the Rainbow — a salute to Judy Garland, an icon in the LGBTQ community — but it’s also responding to the discussion by city council and the public about a proposal for a rainbow crosswalk.

That topic came up last week when Nicola Spurling, an LGBTQ advocate asked Coquitlam council to consider painting a rainbow crosswalk.
Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/rainbow-window-is-about-tolerance-and-acceptance-1.22914127

Rainbow Crosswalk – Part 2

A rainbow crosswalk could be on the way in Coquitlam.

Monday, council instructed staff to bring back a report listing the potential cost and locations while also considering other options to highlight diversity in the city.

“This has been divisive,” Coun. Chris Wilson said of the debate that has taken place in the community and on social media since the rainbow crosswalk was first proposed last month. “But it has also been enlightening for a lot of people… It is about diversity as a whole and we can all be leaders.”

While the majority of councillors said they support a rainbow crosswalk, several other ideas were put forward that would promote inclusivity in the community.

Coun. Mae Reid suggested putting up signs at all of the city’s entry points stating that Coquitlam welcomes diversity while Coun. Teri Towner has proposed painting rainbow steps on the Coquitlam Crunch trail.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/coquitlam-council-asks-staff-for-info-on-rainbow-crosswalk-1.23055486

Rainbow Crosswalk

Coquitlam City Council has voted to install a rainbow crosswalk outside City Hall, at Burlington Drive and Pinetree Way, after a month of heated debate.

According to a report by City staff on the issue, the original estimated cost of installing the crosswalk was $10,000, however it is now believed it will cost less.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart told Daily Hive the city is known for being very welcoming and inclusive, and the crosswalk would reflect that.

“The rainbow is used around the world in many cultures to represent diversity and inclusion,” he said in a statement.

“Our crosswalk will be a celebration of our diversity in all its forms — culture, origin, race, creed, ability/disability, gender orientation/identification, age, mental health, developmental ability, everything.”

Original Article from The Daily Hive: http://dailyhive.com/vancouver/coquitlam-rainbow-crosswalk

Inclusion

A plan that will guide Coquitlam’s sports facility usage for the next decade was approved by city council Monday evening.

Consultant services will be required to complete the report, which will address the city’s long-term ice rink needs and short-term capacity challenges. Council has proposed to use between $40,000 and $50,000 to complete the report, which will consider future population growth, demographics, sport participation and expected arena use.

Coun. Craig Hodge said the draft report outlines the need for joint facilities and he wants to see opportunities to build future ice facilities next to pools and gymnasiums.

“I want to know numbers and I want to see details in this because this has been a long time coming,” Hodge said. “Our sports community and the public who use the facilities deserve to know what our plans are for the next couple of years and what our plans are for 10 years from now as our population grows, as our city grows and, in some cases, as different sports emerge.”

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/coquitlam-s-city-council-approves-a-report-that-will-outline-recreational-facility-needs-1.1886910

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Long term residents

Pipeline Road residents are frustrated with a city decision to allow a stone-cutting business to continue operating next to the Coquitlam River despite the fact the company has not been in compliance with land use regulations for years.

Bedrock Granite Sales has operated in northeast Coquitlam since the 1980s. But a few years ago, it was discovered that by bringing in stones from other properties to cut, the company was in contravention of its is A-3 agricultural zoning.

On Monday, council voted in favour of a text amendment that would change the land use and bring the company into compliance with the existing bylaws, a move that upset several residents at the meeting.

“I can assure you that if a resident violated zoning in any way, that resident would be stopped,” said Bonnie Norquay, who lives up the road from the Bedrock property, which is owned by Allard Contractors Ltd. “I fail to understand how Bedrock was allowed to continue.”

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/bedrock-gets-ok-from-city-of-coquitlam-1.1883772

Women in Leadership – Part 2

When she made the decision to run for mayor of Maple Ridge, Nicole Read just wanted to serve her community, but ended up getting a lot more than she bargained for.

Since being elected in 2014, Read has faced harassment and threats, both online and in real life, severe enough to force her into semi-hiding for a brief period — harassment she says stems from a deep-seated hatred of women.

“It’s a very real thing,” Read said. “This follows me into the real world, and I have to always be mindful of my surroundings and my spaces, because I’m never really sure what’s going to happen.”

“Trying to explain to my children that we live in a world that is sometimes unsafe, and trying not to make them afraid of that world, is very difficult.”

Original Article from CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/nasty-women-panel-1.4413859

Women in Leadership

Encouraging more women to enter politics and helping them overcome challenges will be the topic of discussion next Wednesday, Nov. 22, when Metro Conversations comes to the Tri-Cities.

The discussion series tackling important municipal issues will address women in politics less than a year before the next civic elections.

It’s important for women and men to talk about ways to include women in municipal politics because their voices need to be heard, says Kiersten Duncan, a Maple Ridge city councillor who is organizing the event in Port Coquitlam called Nasty Women: Gender in Politics.

“It’s a great opportunity for someone interested in running to learn about some of the challenges they may face. It can be really overwhelming when you run for the first time and you have these barriers,” said the first-term councillor.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/women-in-politics-discussion-in-port-coquitlam-1.23093958

Women’s only swim

Coun. Bonita Zarrillo also weighed-in, noting that the new strategy calls for clustering aquatic amenities into a small handful of service areas. As the city pushes to reduce the number of vehicle trips within its borders, she questioned why the city was building “infrastructure where we are forcing people into more cars,” she said.

But several councillors agreed with staff and the recommendations in the report.

Coun. Brent Asmundson noted outdoor pools cost too much money for an amenity that can only be used a few months of the year.

Spray decks, he added, can turn into useful park amenities even when the water is turned off, offering a place for people to sit and relax during cooler months.

Coun. Terry O’Neill agreed with Asmundson, noting the money used to pay for outdoor pools could be spent on amenities that are open all year.

He also had concerns about council questioning the research findings of the city’s professional staff members and hired consultants.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/outdoor-pools-too-costly-coquitlam-councillors-debate-1.1939498

Outdoor pools

Building outdoor pools may not be the most cost-effective use of Coquitlam residents’ tax dollars but they are still important amenities for the community.

That was the message from several Coquitlam councillors Monday after city staff presented a draft aquatic services strategy. The report called for upgrades to Spani and Eagle Ridge outdoor pools but did not outline a replacement for the decommissioned outdoor Rochester Pool.

Parks staff noted in a presentation to council that most Metro Vancouver municipalities are phasing out outdoor pools mainly because they are expensive to maintain and can only be used for a few months each year.

But several Coquitlam councillors expressed disappointment at the findings, noting outdoor pools have been important community hubs for many neighbourhoods.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/outdoor-pools-too-costly-coquitlam-councillors-debate-1.1939498

pct walk a mile

Equity – Part 2

Jennifer McKinnon knows what it is to work in a man’s world.

The human resources and communications co-ordinator is one of only five women in the office at Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody.

On Friday, McKinnon and several of her colleagues, including five men, will participate in the second annual Walk a Mile in Support of Gender Equality put on by Soroptimist Tri-Cities.

The event, said co-ordinator Darcel Moro, is to start conversations about gender equality and empowering women so they can work and live on a level playing field with men. Sometimes, all it takes is giving men the opportunity to experience the world from a female perspective by — literally — walking a mile in their shoes.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/walk-a-mile-for-gender-equity-coquitlam-group-says-1.15275292

walk a mile

Equity

Soroptimist International of the Tri-Cities says the work isn’t over in promoting gender equality and ending violence against women and girls, and to make their point, they are walking a mile in heels and colourful knee socks.

Next Friday, the group is inviting women and men to join them in the lighthearted Walk A Mile in Her Shoes event to raise awareness about these serious issues.

“We need men men to get into the conversation,” said Coquitlam Coun. Bonita Zarrillo, who is helping organize the event.

Already, several businesses are expected to join in, making the point that men and women must be united to stop gender violence and ensure young women have an equal opportunity to get jobs with good pay.

Original Article from Tri-City News: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/walk-a-mile-for-gender-equity-coquitlam-group-says-1.15275292