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City of Quesnel and CRD may use COVID Restart money to help prevent layoffs.

The North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee, in reviewing its Recreation and Parks Business Plan and Budget, is short about 400 thousand dollars in revenue, even after a 4 percent tax increase to residents.

As a result, staff is recommending a reduction in service of about 28 hours a week at the rec centre which would result in some layoffs.

Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson proposed at Tuesday night’s meeting that they go another direction…

“Because we’ve got the COVID relief money and the Cariboo Regional District got money as well, what the Joint Committee has indicated is they have asked the Cariboo Regional District and the City to consider making up that 400 thousand dollar shortfall, so we can maintain operations.”

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Simpson also said service reductions may be at cross purposes of what is happening at the recreation facilities…

“We’re seeing an increase month over month in people coming back to using those facilities, so to actually curtail them when we actually might be on the front end of people in the winter months wanting and needing those facilities to continue to be active during our first COVID winter seems to be at cross purposes.”

In the meantime, the Committee has passed a budget with a shortfall until the Quesnel City Council and the CRD Board discuss the issue at their next meetings.

The City received 2 1/2 million dollars in COVID restart money from the province, while the CRD received 867 thousand dollars.

Besides a four percent tax increase for recreation for North Cariboo residents this year, the Joint Advisory Committee, comprised of Quesnel City Council members and the four northern CRD Directors,  have also approved a four percent increase in each of the next four years to help build up capital reserves.

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