Council worked with Rossland city staff to hammer out a plan for its COVID-19 Restart Grant for Local Governments, so facilities like the Rossland Arena could invite its users back at an affordable price. (Jim Bailey photo)

Council worked with Rossland city staff to hammer out a plan for its COVID-19 Restart Grant for Local Governments, so facilities like the Rossland Arena could invite its users back at an affordable price. (Jim Bailey photo)

City assesses COVID-19 restart funds

At city council meeting Oct. 18, Rossland council and staff revealed a plan to distribute over $800,000 in COVID restart funds.

City chief financial officer Mike Kennedy took the results of a lengthy discussion at the Oct. 4 council meeting, as well as input from council following the meeting, and distilled the information into a streamlined report identifying the administration of the grant.

“I was really pleased at what staff came back to us with, given the input we had given them at the previous meeting,” Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore told the Rossland News. “They did have to cover a lot of ground, but yes we are pretty excited about it.”

The city received over $1.2 million from the COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant for Local Governments to aid in its recovery from the pandemic.

Municipalities addressed a variety of categories including: Revenue shortfalls and facility reopening, Emergency planning and response costs, Bylaw enforcement and protective services, Computer and technology costs, Services for vulnerable persons, and other related costs.

Front and centre for council was to create a Scaled Fee Strategy that keeps rental rates of city facilities reasonable for local user groups. The city dedicated $15,000 for 2021 and $25,000 for 2022.

The city also set aside funds to hire a part-time events coordinator for 2021-22.

Coun. Dirk Lewis questioned the necessity of an events coordinator during the council discussion Oct. 18.

“I think there are a lot of groups that want to organize these events, but probably don’t have funds,” said Lewis.

“I think we’d be better off offering funds for the coordination of these events.”

Staff pointed out that many organizations have approached the city and asked for help to plan and run various events and activities.

“All of our groups are facing the same thing,” Coun. Chris Bowman clarified. “So having somebody to coordinate volunteerism in Rossland, to at least get a spark and get it started. I think volunteers are looking for a central place to go at this point, and I think it would be worth it.”

The city also put up $40,000 to help reboot the Winter Carnival, Blizzardfest, Rekindle, and Golden City Days.

Rossland committed $10,000, $10,000 and $50,000 over the next three years to support its bid for the 2026 BC Winter Games.

Last February, Rossland and Trail announced the cities agreed to share expenses, which includes a $55,000 financial commitment and the same amount for in-kind services by 2024 to proceed with planning.

In 2021 and 2022, the Rec Master Plan will receive $50,000 and the Recreation Bursary Strategy $5,000.

The city will reserve another $50,000 over two years for the projected revenue shortfall from programming and events, as well as costs associated with staffing and vaccine passport monitoring.

For emergency planning and response costs, the city will upgrade its communications efforts online and emergency alerts for $50,000, and invest $45,000 in a Rossland news sign that can be programmed for messaging, particularly for emergency purposes such as water restrictions, fires, and pandemic protocols.

Funds totaling $100,000 over three years will also help subsidize the bylaw enforcement, and about $30,000 will go towards computer and technology upgrades.

For Services for Vulnerable Persons, the city allotted $20,000 in 2022 and in 2023 for the renewal of an Age Friendly Contract, and another $20,000 to go towards a study on a Childcare Strategy.

They also put aside $10,000 for financial support for organizations that address opioid addictions regionally.

The city will provide $50,000 for 2021 and 2022, offering immediate assistance to community groups that have experienced COVID-related setbacks and financial hardships to access grants up to $5,000.

All the COVID-19 Safe Restart funds will be administered by the end of 2024.

Read: Rossland to start a policing reserve fund



sports@trailtimes.ca

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