Experience. Leadership. Proven Results.

Open Letter

I’m running for re-election as Mayor on October 20, 2018.

I’m running for re-election as Mayor on October 20, 2018. We’ve accomplished a tremendous amount in the past decade, but there remains some work underway that I truly want to see completed. As well, I’ve been encouraged by the incredible community support that has been demonstrated toward me. I’ve lived all my life here in Coquitlam, and I’ve never felt more optimism for the future of our community.

One of the main reasons I ran for Mayor in 2008 was that I wanted to break the 20-year logjam on the promised Evergreen Line to Coquitlam, a project that had come to be known as the “Nevergreen Line”. I felt that we needed a new approach, building consensus across the region while building support with senior levels of government, to finally get the line built. We achieved it, and our Skytrain line – opened less than two years ago – is tremendously successful connection to the rest of the region. And now that Skytrain is here, we need to work to adapt our land uses around it, and build the amenities to complement it, to take advantage of this $1.5 billion project for the benefit our residents.

Learn more about the results Richard has achieved as Mayor.

Housing Affordability is the major issue facing communities across this region.  My career has been in housing, including as founding Chair of the Society for Housing Affordability, as a consultant to the Province on housing issues, and a member of the Housing Minister’s Advisory Council on Affordable Housing.  Coquitlam’s acclaimed Housing Affordability Strategy, adopted in 2015, has achieved tremendous results so far in advancing a wide range of affordable housing options, and we’ve only just begun.

One vital issue is Riverview Hospital As many residents know, mental illness is near and dear to me and my family, and touches us all. The magnificent Riverview heritage site holds great promise to achieve a true “Campus of Care” for mental health and addictions, a vision we continue to advance to the Province.  With two buildings reopened/repurposed so far, and three new facilities under construction, we are making important progress on this key issue.

We’re also benefiting from lower crime, improved traffic safety measures, expanded cycling infrastructure, economic development, technological innovation in municipal services, a wide range of new affordable housing choices, improved transportation, and strong environmental stewardship.

We’ve achieved a great deal by working cooperatively with our neighbours and other Metro communities, and with senior levels of government, building consensus and cooperation, and by using innovation and technology to benefit our residents. We’re building a new city for the coming generations.

I want to thank all those who have supported, advanced, and promoted this vision, and those who have expressed their support to me. There is much at stake as we look to keep Coquitlam moving forward. I invite you to join me in this vision for our community, a vision of a truly great place to live, work, learn and play

About Richard

Richard Stewart has the experience to continue managing Coquitlam’s growth, opportunities, and challenges.  Under his leadership we’ve seen lower crime, improved traffic safety measures, economic development and jobs, technological innovation, a wide range of affordable housing choices, seniors services, improved transportation, and strong environmental stewardship.

Richard has lived all his life in Coquitlam, and knows this community well.  He has demonstrated that he is the right leader for our Council and our community. A consensus builder with experience and vision, who will listen to residents.

On October 20, let’s re-elect Mayor Richard Stewart

Leadership. Experience. Proven Results.

Accomplishments

Getting things done

A Proven Track Record of Accomplishments:

Richard is proud of the achievements of Council and the incredible team at City of Coquitlam.

Leadership in Management

  • Tight control on costs and expenses – both operating costs and capital construction
  • City’s Finance Dept. receives National Awards for outstanding budgeting
  • Adopting technology (fibre optic, wireless, geo-thermal, open data, EV, etc.) to make citizens’ lives better.
  • 2018 BC Top Employer Award, acknowledging leadership in workplace environment
  • National Award-winning Leading with Purpose Leadership Program
  • Winner of 2018 UBCM’s Excellence in Asset Management Award

Coquitlam is Recognized Nationwide

  • A repeat national winner in Communities in Bloom, honouring environmental stewardship, heritage conservation, urban forestry and outstanding public spaces
  • International District Energy Assoc. 2018 Leadership Award
  • BC Economic Development Assoc. award for Coquitlam Business LinQ
  • UBCM Climate Action Awards, for our Corporate Energy Mgmt Plan
  • Canadian Institute of Planners named our improved Town Centre Park the “Best Public Space in Canada”

Leadership in Community Investments

Over the past decade, Coquitlam has made enormous investments in new parkland, parks and recreation amenities, trail network expansion, roadway improvements, infrastructure upgrades, and transportation enhancements. These investments have been largely funded by development, rather than by tax dollars.  Richard wants to keep investing wisely in our community.

Mental Health and the Riverview Lands

“Mental illness affects cities enormously, and we need to work with senior governments to find solutions.” Founder of Mayors for Mental Health, Richard’s passion for the issue of mental wellness is well-known.  The 240-acre Riverview Hospital heritage site has a 100-year history for serving BC in mental health and wellness, and is well-known for its magnificent arboretum and heritage buildings. We’ve been working with the Province on proposals to protect the lands, as well as for the re-establishment at Riverview of a critical mass of mental health treatment, and associated medical services, on this precious site. With two buildings repurposed, and two new buildings under construction, progress is being made.    Richard wants to see these plans through to fruition, to serve our residents for generations to come.

Achievements

 

Mayor Richard Stewart has shown solid leadership and vision, building consensus on Council, and leading Coquitlam forward.

He has united Council on important initiatives, and helped make Coquitlam one of BC’s best-run and most-desirable communities in which to live, work, learn and play.

Richard’s solid experience and fiscal/financial discipline, along with his vision for a vibrant community, have brought new energy, pride and excitement for Coquitlam families and future generations to enjoy.
Much has been achieved under Mayor Stewart’s leadership:

  • Broke the 25-year stalemate on Skytrain to Coquitlam
  • Expansion of City’s parks
  • New public amenities
  • A decade of reduced annual property tax impact
  • 2018 sees the lowest property tax increase in 25 years, one of the lowest in the province
  • Diversion of organics from waste stream, reducing GHG emissions
  • New District-Energy facilities, reducing energy consumption
  • Passed recycling costs fully from residents back to packaging producers

Leadership in Management

  • Tight control on costs and expenses – both operating costs and capital construction
  • City’s Finance Dept. receives National Awards for outstanding budgeting
  • Adopting technology (fibre optic, wireless, geo-thermal, open data, EV, etc.) to make citizens’ lives better.
  • 2018 BC Top Employer Award, acknowledging leadership in workplace environment
  • National Award-winning Leading with Purpose Leadership Program
  • Winner of 2018 UBCM’s Excellence in Asset Management Award

Coquitlam is Recognized Nationwide

  • A repeat national winner in Communities in Bloom, honouring environmental stewardship, heritage conservation, urban forestry and outstanding public spaces
  • International District Energy Assoc. 2018 Leadership Award
  • BC Economic Development Assoc. award for Coquitlam Business LinQ
  • UBCM Climate Action Awards, for our Corporate Energy Mgmt Plan
  • Canadian Institute of Planners named our improved Town Centre Park the “Best Public Space in Canada”

Richard Leads by Example

  • Richard’s vehicle is a zero-emission fully-electric Leaf,
  • Family home is super-energy-efficient and includes passive solar energy system
  • Strong advocacy on mental health

Issues

Housing Affordability

Housing Affordability has become one of the major issues facing communities across this region; unprecedented demand has collided with limited supply and aging stock, with predictable results. Richard’s entire career has been in housing and innovative land use, including

  • Founding Chair of the Society for Housing Affordability in BC,
  • Consultant to the Province on housing issues, regulations, and housing consumer protection,
  • Housing consultant internationally, in countries around the world, on five continents,
  • Member of the National Research Council Committee that writes the National Building Code provisions for housing,
  • Chair of the National Housing Economic Research Council in Ottawa,
  • Member of the BC Housing Minister’s Advisory Council on Affordable Housing,

 

In those capacities and organizations, Richard has studied housing challenges and solutions from around the world. And through that work over several decades, he advanced solutions to a wide range of our local and provincial housing issues, some of which are in place today. But even though Housing is a provincial responsibility, Richard knows there is much that can be done here at the local level, and he’s very proud of what Coquitlam has accomplished so far. Coquitlam is seen as a leader in our response to the housing challenges across the region.

Here in Coquitlam, in 2015 Council adopted its acclaimed Housing Affordability Strategy, which has spawned thousands of units of housing for families, including innovative in-fill, affordable home ownership, purpose-built rental and below-market/non-market rental.

Plus, using development revenues paid into the city’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, Coquitlam has been able to invest in non-profit housing projects like Habitat For Humanity, Talitha Koum, and United Church Housing – the first significant non-profit housing built in Coquitlam in decades. This fund, now totalling $12 million, puts Coquitlam in a strong position to partner with promised future housing investments by the Federal and Provincial governments. But even without those, Coquitlam achieved enormous investments in purpose-built rental housing — both market and non-market — for the first time in two generations. And on the home-ownership side, Coquitlam continues to advance creative zoning solutions; these have resulted in thousands of units of innovative and affordable home ownership dwellings for young families and seniors, options that other communities are examining with interest.

And since Coquitlam can’t solve housing affordability alone, Richard wants to continue to work across the region on bringing these solutions to bear more broadly. As chair of the Regional Housing and Planning Committees, Richard has been able to advance similar solutions across Metro Vancouver, but this will require much more work. It also requires the involvement of Federal and Provincial Governments; Richard has had in-depth discussions with both Ministers responsible for housing at the Federal and Provincial levels, and he knows Coquitlam will be able to coordinate a much better set of solutions through cooperation. And with so many of the region’s mayors not running again in this election, we’ll need continuity to continue to advance these and other vital regional initiatives to benefit the region’s residents.

Housing supports families and builds communities, and Richard wants to continue to apply his extensive housing background to the housing challenges facing our community. We need Richard’s experience and knowledge to continue to advance more creative housing options, more efficient use of our dwindling supply of urban land, and transportation solutions that improve affordability for families.

Mental Health

One vital issue facing communities and families is Mental Health. As many residents know, Richard’s family has been very open about how mental illness has touched them, and about their experience with the gaps in services that so many families experience. Richard has advocated strongly for better mental health services. And he’s also stood up for Riverview.

Riverview Hospital has a 100-year history of serving BC in mental health and wellness. In addition, the heritage value in this site and its buildings, along with its world-class arboretum, make it truly special. Council has been working with the Province of BC for more than a decade, with some advances, but Coquitlam is now starting to make significant progress on this key site, on which Council has proposed a critical mass of mental health services and treatment facilities.

 

In 2014, Coquitlam advanced a widely-supported plan for the establishment of a Coquitlam Health Campus on the site, taking advantage of its regionally-central location and excellent transportation infrastructure, while preserving both heritage elements and the world-class arboretum and open spaces. During several recent meetings with the Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, Richard has continued to advance the City’s vision that includes both state-of-the-art mental health and addictions treatment for the entire region, and an acute care hospital to serve our community’s aging population (Coquitlam remains the largest city in the province without its own hospital). This is a bold vision, one that will require the building of alliances and support across the region and province. The Minister is now adopting Coquitlam’s “Campus of Care” language. And there has been progress, with the re-opening of two buildings – Hillside and Brookside – for treatment of mental illness and addiction, and the construction of two major new purpose-built facilities – the Riverview Centre for Mental Health and Addictions, and the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre, along with the Provincial Assessment Centre.

Richard believes passionately in a future where mental illness is treated like any other illness, where state-of-the-art facilities and programs can serve our youth and adults with mental health challenges. A facility where families facing Alzheimer’s and dementia can be served in a dignified way. A centre of excellence.

Richard has a lifelong passion for the Riverview site, and wants it preserved in public hands for public purposes, particularly serving the region’s expanding health needs. Join with us in that vision.

 

Contact

I want to thank all those who have supported, advanced, and promoted this vision, and those who have expressed their support to me. There is much at stake as we look to keep Coquitlam moving forward. I invite you to join me in this vision for our community, a vision of a truly great place to live, work, learn and play. And I thank my colleagues on Council that have worked cooperatively toward these things; it’s a diverse group, and we don’t agree on everything by any means. But I always have room for people who respectfully participate in democracy, who advance their own ideas while respecting others’, and who are willing to work together toward a common goal.

If you’re proud of what Coquitlam has achieved, if you’re ready to work to solve some of the challenges ahead, I invite you to join my campaign team, an exciting team working to advance these things for Coquitlam. I invite you to volunteer, to share with friends, to take a lawn sign, to donate to the campaign if you can. But mostly, I invite you to vote for Richard Stewart for Mayor, for Experience, Leadership, and Proven Results.

Email Richard:
richard@richardstewart.ca

Phone:
604-931-2848

Campaign office:
#14-2662 Austin Ave
(across the parking lot from Starbucks)