Campbell River City Hall (Photo supplied by: Ethan Morneau, MyCampbellRiverNow.com staff)
The City of Campbell River is feeling the brunt of COVID-19.
Mayor Andy Adams says the city has seen significant declining revenues and increased costs due to the ongoing pandemic.
He says a lot of the capital projects already underway are taking longer than expected, with many being deferred or delayed.
“We’re doing the best we can under the circumstances,” Adams says.
“With the fall colours and the leaves falling, it is the time of year where council works with city staff in doing our preliminary financial planning and budget preparations for the coming year.”
According to Adams, next year is going to be an extremely challenging one on the budget end for council.
As many projects have been pushed into 2021, he says council will be focused on catching up on the projects that were already approved.
This means the budget will be tight for community groups looking for support from the city.
“A lot of those nice to do things and a lot of the initiatives that the different associations, BIA’s and other groups come forward to council with annually, that they would like the city to assist or take on, are going to be really challenging for us to consider in 2021.”
Adams is not asking for groups to put their ideas on hold though, as he says council does want to hear them, but “it’s more just that caution of the expectation, so people aren’t disappointed going into budget planning.”
“We’re very wary about the capacity of the abilities of our staff, and to stay within our financial parameters that we know we’re going to have.”
City manager Deborah Sargent says, with Campbell River’s 10-year financial stability and resiliency plan, staff have more time to look at what communities groups and organizations are bringing forward and have brought forward in the past.
“We’re hoping that over the course of the next year or two, as we move through the pandemic, that this will be an opportunity for those local groups and organizations to work on their own capital project plan,” Sargent says. “We have a format that we can help groups with as they move through developing potential projects.”
She adds that the city is trying its best with all of the capital projects currently underway.
“Our largest single project this year is the Highway 19A upgrade. If you’ve travelled that route recently, you’ll see that there’s a lot of construction underway and will continue to be underway right through December.”