Signage reminds of physical distancing at White Rock Pier. (File photo)

Signage reminds of physical distancing at White Rock Pier. (File photo)

White Rock, Surrey receive millions in pandemic funding

Grant will help cover cities’ revenue shortfalls, operating costs

The Cities of White Rock and Surrey have each received a funding boost to help deal with increased operating costs and lower revenue as a result of COVID‐19.

White Rock announced Nov. 4 it will receive a grant of $3.769 million under the provincial governments’ Safe Restart Grant for Local Governments.

Confirmation of the funding was received in a letter to the city from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which is providing up to $425 million to assist local governments across B.C. affected by the ongoing pandemic.

READ ALSO: City of White Rock shuts down some civic facilities amid COVID-19 concern

Mayor Darryl Walker said in a media release that he was “heartened, and grateful” for the provincial assistance.

“COVID-19 has impacted us all and has increased costs to the City while decreasing revenues,” he said. “The province is demonstrating the importance of levels of government working to get through this pandemic together.”

City staff will work on incorporating potential options into the 2021 budget process, starting in December, the release stated.

The city of Surrey, meanwhile, will receive nearly $15 million ($14,769,000) through the same program.

“The City of Surrey has been working hard to safely navigate through the turbulent waters created by COVID-19,” said Mayor Doug McCallum, in a release, also issued Wednesday.

“The $15 million in funding today helps to stabilize the sound foundation we have built for the city’s fiscal house. I want to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the federal and provincial governments for their support to Surrey and all municipalities.”

Among eligible uses of the funding are making up revenue shortfalls; costs of reopening and operating facilities; emergency planning and response costs; bylaw enforcement and protective services like fire protection and police.

The grant can also be used for computer and other electronic technology costs (to improve inter-connectivity and virtual communications) and services for vulnerable persons (such as those living with disabilities, mental illness or addictions, or experiencing homelessness).



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

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