The Regional District of Nanaimo plans to allocate the COVID-19 safe restart grant to appropriate services to fund pandemic related expenditures in 2020 and 2021.
The RDN received $1,169,000 grant to fund response and recovery activities that were adversely impacted by the pandemic. The funds are not allowed to be used to reduce taxes.
The approach to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on services was defined in the RDN’s Resilience and Renewal Framework. Among the areas that require funding are recreation, personal protective equipment, information technology and security, legal fees, staffing and unplanned operational routines, and upgrades to RDN facilities that would allow business to be conducted.
The expenditures incurred in 2020 totalled $377,000 and that amount is projected to go up $792,000 in 2021.
In 2020, the closures in the Oceanside Place arena resulted in a net loss of $62,000 and expected net loss of $89,000 for 2021. Ravensong Aquatic Centre was spared net losses in 2020 but is expected to experience negative finances of around $370,000 due to lower user fees, reduced rentals and net of operational savings. The combined estimated losses is $459,000.
For personal protective equipment that includes masks and shields, disinfectant towels, wipes, gloves, spray bottles, sanitizer and cleaning supplies at regional facilities and fire statio ns cost the RDN $47,000 in 2020 and the same amount is estimated for 2021.
The RDN also had to invest in pandemic-related equipment that included conference microphones, headsets, webcams, A/V upgrades, laptops, mobile phones, phone lines and other accessories that cost $86,000 in 2020. An additional $75,000 is estimated for 2021.
As well, the RDN spent funds on internet security software that totalled $11,000 in 2020. Another $75,000 will be needed to play for Wi-Fi upgrades, VPN upgrades, network penetration testing, bandwidth upgrades, security assessments and reviews.
Upgrades and retrofits such as counter refurbishments for administration and finance cost $10,000 and another $25,000 will be required for 2021 as well as $75,000 for electronic accessibility improvements. Recreation facility retrofits costing $12,000 were also undertaken that include separating portable wall, signage and splash guards.
Staffing pandemic related expenditures totalled $142,000 for 2020 and the RDN expects to spend $29,000 for 2021.
Staff proposed that the amount of funding received, use of funds, and year-end balance of unused funds from the restart grant to be consolidated at the regional level and reported annually as part of the audited financial statements until all the funds are fully exhausted.