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CRD calls special meeting on using COVID money to prevent layoffs at Quesnel Rec Centre

That possibility came out of last week’s North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee meeting when staff recommended service cuts and layoffs to offset a 400 thousand dollar revenue shortfall in the Sub Regional Recreation budget for the coming year.

Mary Sjostrom, the CRD Director for Area A, says the decision to call the special meeting came out of Friday’s Board meeting…

“The CRD Board had not yet had a discussion on the COVID funding because we had just received it.  The outcome of the meeting today was a decision to hold a special board meeting on December the 11th, giving an opportunity for staff to look at any options that they feel are necessary.”

Despite the delay, Sjostrom says they are aware that there is some urgency to making a decision…

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“That’s correct, and that certainly was emphasized.   Director Simpson was emphasizing that, and moving forward through the budget, and that was the recommendation today.   Rather than as the recommendation by staff was to not discuss it until January, the Board, after discussion, said we’ll move it up so that’s what we’re doing.”

The CRD received 867 thousand dollars in COVID restart money, but Sjostrom points out that that is for the entire Cariboo Regional District and not just the North Cariboo.

She says it would be unrealistic to think that the North Cariboo would get all of that money…

“Absolutely not, I mean this conversation has been held with community works fund or the gas tax, it’s been held quite often in the way that you do a lot more with a larger amount than with a small amount and breaking it up.   We’ve never had, we’ve had the conversation, but it never has been to break it up.”

The City of Quesnel received 2.5 million dollars in COVID Restart money and City Council is expected to discuss the same issue at tomorrow (Tuesday) night’s meeting.

For now, the Joint Planning Committee has passed a budget that includes the 400 thousand dollar shortfall.

Exactly how many layoffs there might be was not discussed at that meeting.

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