City Pays Tribute to Longtime Former Councillor Forrest

Life-long Port Coquitlam resident and former City Councillor Mike Forrest was honoured last week with the Freedom of the City and a dedicated walkway featuring one of his favourite views.

The City of Port Coquitlam has renamed the Citadel Landing boardwalk along the Fraser River as the Michael Forrest River Walkway, recognizing Forrest’s service on Council from 2000 to 2018, his years of dedication to the community, and his love for the water.

“Mike helped shape our community in becoming one of the most livable and greatest cities in Canada,” noted Mayor Brad West. “We wanted to recognize him in a way that acknowledges not only his work on behalf of the city, but his deep connection to the community and its rivers.”

Some of Forrest’s key accomplishments on Council include:

  • Playing a key role in developing the Official Community Plan and many other critical plans;
  • Chairing the Mayor’s Task Force on Business Development that resulted in numerous improvements for businesses and a provincial Open for Business Award for the city;
  • Supporting local heritage by championing the PoCo Heritage Centre and the city’s Heritage Strategic Plan and the Heritage Inventory and Register; and
  • Chairing and participating on a number of city committees, including Smart Growth, Finance & Intergovernmental, and Transportation and Public Works.

Forrest was an avid and vocal Council-watcher for 15 years prior to being elected. A tireless Port Coquitlam cheerleader, he is known for his enthusiastic participation in city functions and events, and can often be seen waving the flag at the annual Canada Day celebration.

“Mike is through and through PORT Coquitlam,” said West. “His generosity, hard-work ethic and passion define what our community is about. He has been an inspiration for many of us and the City is a better place because of his contributions.”

City and community representatives gathered Mar. 1 at the Michael Wright Art Gallery to celebrate Forrest’s contributions, during a special event that included the presentation of the Freedom of the City and unveiling of the Michael Forrest River Walkway dedication plaque, to be installed this month.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed with the honour this evening and the walkway being dedicated to me along the river as it is a part of who I am and where I come from,” said Forrest.  “PORT Coquitlam is our hometown and Karen and I look forward to continuing to be actively involved in promoting community spirit.”  

The city’s highest honour, Freedom of the City is bestowed on citizens for their exception service or contributions to the community, including former Council members who have served two or more terms. Port Coquitlam has bestowed this honour on ten individuals since 2013.

Recipients receive a plaque, and both they and their spouses receive free admission to city-owned recreation facilities. Recipients are also automatically eligible to vote or run for office in city elections, a quaint privilege that is no longer relevant today but dates back to the days when only property owners could vote or run for municipal office. 

A third-generation Port Coquitlam resident, Forrest grew up learning to work and love the river from his family of local marine industry pioneers. He ultimately chose a career on the water, running Forrest Marine with his brother Ray and doing everything from commercial fishing to operating tugboats, running a water taxi, and rescue and salvage.

The commercial gillnet fishery is a valued part of the Forrest family heritage, and he is a longtime advocate for the Fraser gillnet fleet and the province’s maritime heritage. Forrest helped to develop the Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster and has been a board member since 1988, and also formerly served on the Fraser River Harbour Commission, Pacific Salmon Commission and International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission.

Forrest continues to spend a good deal of time out on the water, both for work and leisure. He and his wife Karen have two daughters and five grandchildren.

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Pardeep Purewal
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533