The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) received a $1.17 million grant from the provincial government, intended to offset costs and lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staff recommended the funds go to six areas: recreation facilities, personal protective equipment (PPE), information technology (IT), legal fees, additional staffing costs and facility upgrades, such as protective plexiglass barriers.
“I think we’re a little bit ahead of ourselves. I think we should be holding off until we know what the municipalities are doing with their dollars,” said Leanne Salter, RDN Area F director.
The Electoral Area Services Committee directors were concerned organizations such as fire and search and rescue services, not directly funded by the RDN, could miss out on funding to offset PPE costs and other pandemic related expenses. The committee requested staff inform the organizations of their eligibility.
The recommendations included $370,000 to offset expected revenue losses at the Ravensong Aquatic Centre, as well as $151,000 in 2020 revenue losses and projected losses for 2021 at Oceanside Place Arena.
This year may be more expensive than 2020 for RDN facilities, such as Ravensong, because they will likely be open at reduced capacity and with decreased revenue, according to Jeannie Bradburne, RDN director of finance. The facilities were closed for a significant portion of 2020, which cut costs, such as staff wages and programming contractors.
RDN transit also saw a drop in revenue due to the pandemic, but was not included in the staff report because it received funding already.
The City of Parksville and the Town of Qualicum Beach received $67,187 and $48,014 respectively from the grant, in addition to the $2.86 million and $2.36 million each received from their own COVID-19 Safe Restart Grants.
Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) received $85,934, Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) received $108,368, Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum) received $104,734 and Electoral Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) received $54,493.