The Mayor of Quesnel says the Joint Planning Committee is leaving money on the table when it comes to getting funding for the North Cariboo.
Bob Simpson says there is a structural issue within the Cariboo Regional District on how they establish their business plans and their business priorities, because a lot of times you’ll get grants that come out and are made available that are not directly aligned with the business plan priorities for that year.
“I think we need to build in a little bit more flexibility but also take advantage of the fact that each of the electoral area representatives is eligible as a stand alone for some direct funding through particularly the rural dividend or through Northern Development Trust. The way that we do our strategic plan and our business plan, if it’s not seen in that year’s approved plan as approved by the Cariboo Regional District, you actually can’t make yourself eligible for those funds without a lot of twists.”
Simpson says one of the funds they are missing out on is Rural Dividend’s half a million dollar special cirumstances fund…
“Sitting over above that for communities that are impacted by changes in their economy, like mill closures, there is a two year open window to apply for a half a million dollars special circumstances program. We’ve used that in the past, our funding for the Alex Fraser Park new building was a special circumstance that we were able to work, between the city and the CRD, and it was because that building was targeted for replacement in our capital.”
But Simpson says if you don’t actually have a project and if you don’t have a business objective in the plan then it’s hard for the CRD to go after that money.
He says independent of the CRD Board as a whole, the North Cariboo group…the regional district directors, the City of Quesnel and he would include Wells…need to have a conversation about how they can fully capitalize on all the funds that are available.