Change our Development Plan

The majority of Residents I have spoken with agree: The rapid pace of development in Coquitlam is too fast.  They feel strongly that in the past 4 years our current Residents and existing neighbourhoods have not been respected nearly enough.

 

Residents are also upset that our current Development Plan is not working.  It is not addressing housing affordability in Coquitlam and it is not meeting the diverse housing needs of our community.  The majority of developments our current Mayor and City Council have approved are new condo towers full of expensive 1 and 2 bedroom units.  These units obviously do not address housing affordability at all.  Further, expensive condos do not address housing needs for families, first time buyers, renters, or those who need BC Affordable Housing.

Also, our current Mayor and City Council have rezoned countless buildings that could have provided more affordable housing options to Residents for years to come.  Instead, these buildings have been torn down to build new expensive condos.  This means they have actually made affordability WORSE!

I believe we need to CHANGE to a balanced Development Plan that builds less condos and instead builds more townhouses, dedicated rental units, and BC Affordable Housing units.  This way we can start meeting the housing needs of all groups in our community.  We also need to immediately STOP tearing down all of our existing affordable housing stock.

As part of our new plan we need to PROTECT our existing single family home neighbourhoods.  Extremely narrow subdivided lots, four-plexes and tri-plexes will significantly change the nature of our neighbourhoods.  They will cause many problems because of absentee landlords and also cause a lot of traffic and congestion in what are currently quiet neighbourhoods.

 

Coquitlam is home to some of the best neighbourhoods in the Lower Mainland and it would be a mistake to change the nature of these neighbourhoods forever.  Because once we change them, there is no going back.

On City Council I will work to change our Development Plan to the balanced plan I outlined above.  I will work hard to meet the housing needs of all Coquitlam Residents and protect our existing neighbourhoods as well.

Integrity in Decision Making

It is great news that as of this 2018 campaign, development companies can no longer make donations to Mayors or City Councillors in BC.  I believe we need to go even further though, to ensure there are no conflicts of interest whatsoever.  This is because those involved with development can still make donations as individuals, and so can their friends and family.

I pledge to not accept any donations from individuals involved with development.  I also pledge to not accept donations from any friends or family of those involved with development.  I believe all candidates for Mayor and City Council should make the same pledge.

Next, it is inappropriate for Mayor and Councillors to be voting on their own pay increases.  This system needs to be changed immediately and the salary of Mayors and Councillors must be determined through an independent process.

Also, I have spoken with many residents who said they did not even know there was a potential rezoning in their neighbourhood until it was too late and the rezoning was already approved.  This is unacceptable.

The solution is to notify by mail all residents in the immediate AND surrounding areas to ensure they are aware and fully informed of any application for rezoning.  A few signs and some advertising in the local paper is not enough.

Most importantly, our Mayor and City Council need to start putting the needs and interests of current Coquitlam Residents first.  This means taking input from the bottom up, not changing our city from the top down.

Developers and other special interest groups have had far too much influence on City Council for far too long.  It's time to put Coquitlam Residents first in every decision our City Council makes.

My commitment is to always put the needs and interests of Coquitlam Residents first.  On City Council I will take the input of Residents and work hard to improve our city from the bottom up.

Strengthen Parks, Sports & Recreation

One of the best things about Coquitlam is our beautiful natural environment and our world-class parks, sports programs and recreation facilities.  Past Mayors, Councillors, and many City Staff have done a lot of amazing work in this area over many years.  Most importantly, parents and volunteer coaches and organizers are the backbone of our sports programs.  I believe there is more to be done and I will work to support and strengthen our Parks, Sports & Recreation in Coquitlam.

The largest project in this area is the construction of a new sports complex in northeast Coquitlam,  planned to begin construction in 2023.  Currently, our main facility is the Poirier Sport & Leisure Complex in southwest Coquitlam.  This is a fantastic facility but it isn't able to provide everything our growing city needs.

A new sports complex in northeast Coquitlam will provide access and convenience for the tens of thousands of residents in that part of our city.  It will also alleviate the pressure on our Poirier complex and allow us to serve everyone better at both facilities.

The cost and design of this new facility are two very important considerations.  I believe we need to have the mindset that we must ensure the new complex will meet the needs of our community for decades to come.  We must also ensure the facility is built on a reasonable budget and that it comes in on budget.  The key to this is prudent planning, both financially and in terms of the design of the complex.

Next, we need to bring Curling back to Coquitlam.  Because our Poirier facility is overtaxed, the Coquitlam Curling Club was displaced to Port Moody.  We need to bring our Curling Club back to Coquitlam as soon as possible and assess all options to do so.

Another important issue is I have spoken to many seniors who feel the focus of both Dogwood Pavilion and Glenn Pine Pavilion is being changed towards younger demographics.  I feel strongly we should keep the focus of both of these facilities towards seniors, and ensure they are the #1 priority at both facilities.

My hope is that on City Council I can contribute to the prudent planning and successful completion of a great new sports complex in northeast Coquitlam.  I will also work to bring Curling back to Coquitlam and to ensure our Seniors are the #1 priority at Dogwood Pavilion and Glenn Pine.

Sustainable City Spending

I have spoken with many Residents who are very concerned about our City Spending.  A look at the numbers clearly shows spending over the past 4 years has been too high.  If we continue spending at this rate our city budget will not be sustainable in the long term.

In 2015, the first year our Current Mayor and Council were responsible for, spending increased by 3.8%.  In 2016, spending increased by 6.2%.  In 2017 spending increased by another 4.7%.  As 2018 is not over yet, numbers are not available.

This means spending has increased by an average of 4.9% each year.  If that average holds for 2018, our current Mayor and Councillors will have increased City Spending by 20% in just 4 years.  This level of spending is not sustainable.

In 2014, when the current Mayor and Councillors came in, our City Spending totalled $210.3 million dollars.  By the end of 2017 they had increased it to $242.7 million dollars.  That is an increase of over $32 million dollars in just 3 years.

A key focus for our new Mayor and Councillors must be to slow down our rate of spending.  If we don't slow down, we will have serious financial challenges in the future and higher and higher property taxes.  The cost of rent in Coquitlam would also increase even further if landlords have to pay higher and higher property taxes.  Higher taxes means less affordability for both property owners and renters in our community.

The best way to address City Spending is to completely change how our budget process works.  Right now, City Council takes proposals for increases in funding from all departments and then decides what increases to approve.  Instead, City Council needs to decide on a small and reasonable increase to property taxes each year and then tell each department the budget they have to work with.  That way it's simply not possible to have a 4 or 5% increase in spending each year.  This is the only way to achieve a 2-3% yearly increase in spending that is in line with inflation and wage increases.

I have extensive experience working with large budgets and keeping costs down for my clients as a Business Consultant.  I hope to bring my skills and experience to City Hall and work hard to keep our city services functioning well, strengthen our Parks, Sports & Recreation, but also ensure our City Spending is sustainable.

 
 
 
 
 

Contact Paul

Contact Information

Paul Lambert

Candidate for Coquitlam City Council

paul@paullambert.ca

604-499-4234

This website approved by Paul Lambert