Layoffs have resulted by the City of Williams Lake as the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted available services to essential only.

A total of 43 staff have been laid off including positions at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex that was closed on March 18 until further notice, as well as administrative positions at City Hall that closed March 19.

 “The first round of tough decisions was in relation to the Complex at the point where we had to close the complex for recreation. A number of people whose jobs are there to support the public, we weren’t able to give them work and so we had to make the decision to lay them off and that’s a difficult decision because our staff is like family,” Chief Administrative Officer Milo MacDonald told MyCaribooNow.

“There were 33 people impacted by that and then several positions at City Hall as well that have similar public-facing roles.”

Although more lay-offs are possible as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, MacDonald says when we do come out of this, they want to make sure that the City is positioned to ensure that its capital projects are shelf-ready and ready to go, and that the City has done everything it can to support the permits, investments, and developments of developers and investors looking to conduct business.

“Of course we’ve got a paving program as well and there’s well over a $1-million dollars of paving and some associated work with that,” he adds. “We’ll make sure that stuff is ready to go at the first point that it can be, and some of it may be able to proceed even with the restrictions in place so we’re going to do that.”

MacDonald says they are anticipating that the lay-offs will be temporary.

“I’m very optimistic that we will at some point in the reasonably near future get through all of this at which point our Complex will be back open for recreational purposes and we’ll have all the same staff needs that we ever did;  our lifeguards, our water slide attendants, and our facilities people will all be back to work and things will be like they used to be,” he says.