Sicamous council is making an effort to support local non-profits and accelerate projects to help the local economy bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a March 26 video address to the community, Mayor Terry Rysz detailed some of the decisions council had made regarding the COVID-19 situation at their March 25 meeting.
Rysz said a decision was made to repurpose a fund earmarked for sending district councillors and staff to conferences, which instead will be used to support non profits. Rysz said the money will be distributed as grants to the agencies that look after vulnerable members of the community. Groups can apply for grants of up to $2,000 from the $20,000 fund. Applications for the grants can be made through the District of Sicamous’ website.
In addition, Rysz said Sicamous would be accelerating large district projects like the Solsqua-Sicamous bridge replacement and work on the community daycare building in order to provide work for local companies.
Rysz said the district’s staff and elected officials are looking into making amendments to the payment deadlines for property taxes and utility fees in order to ease the financial hardship that many people will face this year.
Sicamous and the rest of B.C.’s municipalities have been advised to abide by the orders of B.C.’s provincial health officer. Rysz said those businesses that have not been ordered to close can continue, but must adhere to recommendations from the province aimed at reducing the spread of the virus. Rysz added that Sicamous’ bylaw officer is considered a peace officer and can enforce provincial orders.
According to Rysz, Sicamous’ Fire Chief Brett Ogino has been co-ordinating the district’s emergency response to the virus with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. Rysz also praised the efforts of Sicamous’ RCMP detachment.
The mayor urged local residents to stay home as much as possible in order to protect the elderly who are most at risk from the virus, and also to keep those still working in essential jobs healthy and able to continue.
“They’re all heroes. From the bottom of our hearts thank you for everything you do,” Rysz said of those still working through the pandemic.
He closed the address on a positive note, reciting a few bars of Bobby McFerrin’s don’t worry be happy.