The City of Williams Lake has laid out some plans for how it’s going to spend its COVID Safe Restart money.
Earlier this month, the City was given over 2.6 million dollars from the provincial government to assist with COVID-related costs.
The $2,618,000 must be used for eligible COVID-related costs, which include:
- addressing revenues shortfalls;
- facility reopening and operating costs;
- emergency planning and response costs;
- bylaw enforcement and protective services like fire protection and police;
- computer and other electronic technology costs (to improve interconnectivity and virtual communications);
- services for vulnerable persons (e.g. persons living with disabilities, mental illness or addictions, persons experiencing homelessness or other vulnerabilities); and
- other related costs
Mayor Walt Cobb said that they want to spend the money as quickly and effectively as possible.
“Staff are going to come back with some reports on how it’s feasible and how it’s going to work,’ he said. “It was just an allotment. I think we got a pretty clear direction from the province that they don’t want us to sit on this money; they want it to get out to the community so that we can help in the recovery. That’s what it is designed for, so if we don’t get it out and get it spent, then we are not helping recover.”
Following the guidelines put in place by the province on how the many may be spent, City staff has suggested that the funds be used to address
- Fund $100K that Council previously approved for COVID response;
- Fund revenue shortfalls at the airport, transit (in the current year and in 2021 until pandemic ends);
- Fund revenue shortfall from Gaming Grant that funds City’s non-for-profit fees for services and grant in aids (in a current year and in 2021 until pandemic ends);
- Fund IT upgrades that were made in the City and in Council Chambers to enable remote meetings viewing and participation;
There were also requests from multiple community groups to set aside 10% of the funding for vulnerable populations.