Ucluelet was awarded a $764,000 grant under B.C.’s COVID‐19 Safe Restart Grant for Local Governments last month.
The good news about the fiscal support was delivered to Ucluelet’s CAO Mark Boysen in a letter dated Nov. 2, 2020.
“This funding is positive. We are going to let council determine the uses over the coming months, but preliminary recommendations from [district] staff will be address revenue shortfalls first, which primarily affected the recreation department in 2020,” Boysen wrote in an email to the Westerly.
“For the times we have closed the UCC, we had no fees coming in for programs and space rentals. This is where our primary revenue shortfalls occurred for the district,” Boysen went on to say.
Mayor Mayco Noel called attention to the funding announcement during the Nov. 24 regular council meeting.
“[The Restart Grant] is a big thing. Obviously during the budget process staff will be providing us some more details about the things we can spend this on. Obviously bylaw enforcement is a big one. We were limited with resources and that’s one of the things it can help with in 2021 ,” said Noel.
“Thank you to the Province for sending us some dollars which equates to about $400 per person and we hope to use that wisely in the 2021 budget,” he said.
The Canada-B.C. Safe Restart Fund will provide up to $540 million in federal and provincial funding (50/50 cost shared) to local governments throughout British Columbia to support operating costs and revenues impacted due to COVID-19, notes the Government of B.C. website.
The $540 million funding for local governments was further divided into three streams: $425 million for Local Governments to address local government facility reopening and operating costs, emergency response costs, lost revenues and other COVID-19-related impacts; $100 million for Strengthening Communities to support local governments in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, the challenges posed in local communities by homelessness, and community concerns with street disorder and safety; and, $15 million for Development Services to continue the work identified through the Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR) and support innovative local government efforts to improve the efficiency of development approval processes.