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qathet Regional District to receive $424,000 safe restart grant

Province providing money for COVID-19 safe restart
qathet Regional District Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick
qathet Regional District Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick. Peak archive photo

qathet Regional District (qRD) will be the recipient of a $424,000 grant from the provincial government under the COVID-19 safe restart grant for local governments.

At the November 12 committee of the whole meeting, directors voted to receive correspondence from Kaye Krishna, deputy minister of the ministry of municipal affairs and housing.

Committee chair and Electoral Area D director Sandy McCormick asked staff, when the regional district receives this money, if it goes into general revenue, or is allocated in the budget process.

Chief administrative officer Al Radke said staff plan on bringing a report back to the board with ideas and plans for the board to evaluate how to utilize that funding. Radke said there are definitive streams the regional district can use the money for and they have to be COVID-19 related.

According to Krishna, the provincial government understands the fiscal impacts COVID-19 has placed on local service providers. She stated that to help address these challenges, in September, the province announced nearly $2 billion in joint federal/provincial spending, including $540 million for local governments, $418 million for community infrastructure and $1 billion for transit, TransLink and ferries.

Funding for safe restart grants will support local governments as they deal with increased operating costs and lower revenue due to COVID-19, according to Krishna. It will also ensure local governments can continue to deliver services people depend on in their communities.

Determination of the size of the grant was based on a formula that applies to all regional districts, based on a flat fee and two per capita amounts.

“This overall formula is designed to ensure that larger regional districts receive more money than smaller ones, but that smaller and rural regional districts receive higher per capita funding than the larger ones,” stated Krishna. “This is in recognition that small regional districts often lack a diverse revenue base and the economies of scale to easily restart their operations.”

qRD has until December 31, 2021, to fully allocate the grant funds to the appropriate services.

“We believe that this funding will contribute to the long-term recovery of local governments,” stated Krishna, “who are both critical service providers and crucial drivers in the British Columbia economy.”