As community-run programs and tourism continue to struggle in the midst of a pandemic, the city is set to double funding for grant programs that aim to offer a helping hand.
Council’s committee of the whole unanimously agreed Monday afternoon to direct an additional $350,000 each in provincial Safe Restart dollars to the Tourism Rebuild Fund and the Community Investment Program Emergency Fund.
“The need is clearly there,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie, who proposed the shift in funding, noting the tourism fund received $1.6 million in requests and the community fund received $1.8 million in requests.
Both programs received initial funding of $350,000 for the year through the city’s 2021 budget.
If council ratifies the committee decision later this month, that means each program has $700,000 to hand out to qualifying applicants.
Prior to the mayor’s amendment, all of the remaining phase one Safe Restart funds were to be put into a tax stabilization reserve to help cover COVID-related deficits for this year and next.
Though the motion passed unanimously, the amendment went through 8-5. Joining Guthrie in favour were councillors Bob Bell, Leanne Caron, Cathy Downer, Dan Gibson, James Gordon, Dominique O'Rourke and Mike Salisbury. Councillors Phil Allt, Christine Billings, Rodrigo Goller, June Hofland and Mark MacKinnon were opposed.