The grant money is coming in time for the Village’s budget season. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

The grant money is coming in time for the Village’s budget season. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Burns Lake awarded a $732,000 provincial grant for Covid-19 relief

District of Houston, Granisle, the RDBN among the many receiving the grant

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced a massive funding for local governments as part of the government’s $540 million funding announcement and the village of Burns Lake has received a $732,000 grant as part of this Covid-19 Safe Restart Grants for Local Governments stream.

“The funding will help support economic development and recovery efforts,” said village CAO Sheryl Worthing.

In a letter dated Nov. 2, from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the council was informed of this award and that it would be receiving this amount as part of the Covid-19 Safe Restart Grants for Local Governments.

This award can be used for addressing revenue shortfalls, facility reopening and operating costs, emergency planning and response costs, bylaw enforcement and protective services such as fire protection and police, computer and other technology costs, services for vulnerable persons in the community and other related costs.

The funding is part of government’s $540 million funding for local governments that has been further divided into three streams. The $15 million stream for “Development Services” and the $100 million for “Strengthening Communities” would require local governments to apply for the funding. However, the third stream of $425 million called the “Covid-19 Safe Restart Grants for Local Governments” would come directly to the local governments to help recover their operations from any Covid-19 impact.

“To ensure full transparency regarding the use of funds, we are required to annually report on how the grant is spent. This will be part of our annual financial reporting under section 167 of the Community Charter,” said Worthing.

The village council has directed the staff to send a letter to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to thank them for the timely award of the grant to the municipality considering the village is now in the budget planning season.

Other municipalities in the region to receive the grant are Telkwa, $602,000; Hazelton, $268,000; New Hazelton, $357,000; Granisle, $264,000; Smithers, $1.6 million; Terrace, $2.7 million; Kitimat, $2.2 million; Prince Rupert, $2.8 million; Burns Lake, $732,000; and Stewart $366,000.

The ministry decided the funding for the municipalities based on a formula involving two factors, a flat funding of $169,000 and an adjusted per capita amount based on the population to ensure larger municipalities received more money than smaller ones but the smaller ones received a higher per capita funding as they often lack a diverse tax base to restart operations.

The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) is one the 27 regional districts to receive this grant funding and will be getting $583,000.

The ministry decided the funding for regional districts based on a formula based on three factors, a flat funding amount of $300,000 to each regional district and two additional components to take into consideration the overall population and the rural population for each regional district.

“We believe this funding will contribute to the long-term recovery of local governments who are both critical service providers and crucial drivers in the British Columbia economy,” wrote Deputy Minister Kaye Krishna in a letter to the village and the RDBN.

With files from Rod Link

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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