Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says the Billy Barker Days Society made the right decision to proactively cancel this year’s event that was scheduled for July.
Simpson says while the community benefits greatly from the festival it’s a decision that had to be made…
“And certainly from a Quesnel perspective a good shot in the arm for our economics during the summer, but I think the volunteer organization there is making the right decision to proactively cancel. I don’t think the public health orders will be lifted until most likely the fall.”
Simpson says the city will actually save a little money.
“We do run some additional overtime as we do more garbage pickup, more park cleanup, and there is a little bit of use of the RCMP detachment with some more officers there, so there is a nominal savings to the city, but it’s not something that has a big impact on our direct budget.”
Simpson says the real impact is on the community and to local businesses.
“A lot of our own population can’t travel though, and I would give kudos to the people in Quesnel and the North Cariboo. I think they understand that that inability to travel, and the inability for us to host events, means that they need to be shopping locally and supporting local businesses. And I certainly hear back from our businesses that they’re feeling that kind of support is there and is getting them through this very difficult time.”
Simpson says we’ve also been felling these kinds of impacts to our normal tourism season and normal festival season since the summer of 2017, so he says businesses have also adapted.
He says he anticipates that more financial help will be coming from the provincial government for communities and organizations in the next budget.
Simpson says the Federal Government has made some recent announcements of continuing support for individuals as well.