City spending $2 million of COVID-19 recovery grant

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The City of Parksville has received a large COVID-19 recovery grant from the provincial government. Council voted on Dec. 7 to allocate just under $2 million of the $2.86 fund and save the remainder for next year.

“There’s been some misunderstanding in the public that this money was to be granted to businesses and individuals around town,” said Mayor Ed Mayne. “It was for the local government to offset our expenses due to COVID and for ongoing COVID-related expenses.”

The largest amount will go towards offsetting the city’s $567,000 loss in sewer and water revenue because of decreased tourism during the pandemic. Another $400,000 will go to a new special projects coordinator three-year position — plus two additional positions and a reserve fund of $150,000, according to Keeva Kehler, chief administrative officer (CAO) for the city.

The recovery fund will also pay for $200,000 of the initial consultant fees for a new pool and multiplex project. Another $125,000 will go to paying for installation of a new fibre optic cable between City Hall and the city operations yard.

A further $250,000 will go towards upgrading Ballenas Secondary School’s track, if the project meets the province’s COVID-19 recovery guidelines. 

City staff recommended saving about $1 million of the grant for next year to offset future costs associated with COVID-19.

The Dec. 7 meeting was closed to the public because of the provincial health officer’s order prohibiting the public from attending in-person meetings, though the meeting was streamed on Youtube. Council also voted to cancel its Dec. 21 meeting. 

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