Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples. (File photo)

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples. (File photo)

City of Duncan establishes grant program during COVID-19 crisis

The Government/Kenneth Street capital project will be delayed until 2021 to fund it

The City of Duncan will create a grant program with a cap of $10,000 for local organizations that are supporting businesses or individuals through the COVID-19 crisis, and is setting aside $100,000 from its budget for 2020 to fund it.

At a special council meeting on April 27 to discuss the budget, council decided that the funding for the program will come from $12,000 out of tax revenues and $88,000 out of surplus funds.

At the recommendation of staff, council also decided to defer the Government/Kenneth Street capital project, which has an estimated cost of $202,000, from 2020 to 2021 to help fund the grant program.


A report from finance director Bernice Crossman said that by choosing deferment of the Government/Kenneth Street project and using $12,000 of tax revenues and $88,000 of the $116,773 in surplus funds that were allocated to the road project, the grant program can be created without any impact to the current year’s taxes, or future year’s taxes.

“However, it will result in $100,000 of deferment of capital spending into the future, resulting in a 2021 capital project being deferred to 2022 and so on,” Crossman said.

“Also, issues have arisen regarding the current design efforts for the Government/Kenneth Street project that make deferring this project advisable.”

The city was considering a 3.16 per cent tax increase in 2020, but the financial repercussions on the city’s citizens from the COVID-19 crisis have led council to reconsider its options, and find ways to help local businesses and organizations during the pandemic.


The proposed budget for the year was given the first three readings at the council meeting on April 6, with the understanding that council still had the opportunity to pull the budget back for further review.

Council also decided on April 27 to reduce travel and conference stipends by 50 per cent for staff and council members in 2020, which had $55,750 budgeted before the cutback.

Staff was also asked at the time to provide a report on creating the grant program, and what capital projects could be deferred to fund it.

But not all councillors were in favour of creating the grant program.

Coun. Garry Bruce said the city can’t afford to use $88,000 from its surplus for the program.

“The federal and provincial governments are putting up lots of money fast and furious during the COVID-19 crisis, and we should wait to see how the money from the senior levels of government will impact local people and businesses before we do this,” he said.

But Coun. Jenni Capps said she’s in favour of the grant program because it would benefit local organizations and businesses.

“Providing funding from the program locally could have a ripple effect that could impact a lot of lives in the city,” she said.

“I like the sound of pots of money from senior levels of government, but that’s uncertain right now and I think this grant program will have a tangible impact on the local community.”


Coun. Tom Duncan agreed and said he believes the city has to spend money locally during the pandemic.

“A lot of restaurants and other businesses in the city are not coming back, and I think the program will provide some relief and good ideas we will need at the back end of the health crisis,” he said.

Mayor Michelle Staples said she has had discussions with people in the city and many believe that when the pandemic finally ends, the world and Duncan will be doing things differently.

She said the grant program could lead to some very creative and innovative ideas for people and businesses in Duncan.

“Localizing all we can is important right now,” Staples said.

The city’s final budget for 2020 must be adopted before May 15, and a final draft will be presented at the council meeting on May 4, with a recommended tax increase of 2.51 per cent, for consideration of the fourth and final reading.

A staff report by Crossman that was presented to council at the meeting on April 20 warned that the city’s five-year financial plan is already projecting a 5.3 per cent increase in 2021, and that could increase further if the city defers projects from 2020 to 2021.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

budgetCoronavirusmunicipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Cowichan strengthens some COVID-19 safety protocols, and introduces new ones, as the pandemic enters ts second phase. (File photo)
North Cowichan and CVRD implementing new COVID rules

Municipality reacting to new public health orders

Search and rescue crews from all over Vancouver Island responded to calls to assist with the search for a 19 year-old man with medical issues who got lost on trails in the south end of Duncan on Nov. 21. The man was found Sunday morning and taken to hospital for assessment. (Submitted photo)
Duncan man rescued after getting lost on local trails

19-year-old taken to hospital for assessment

Duncan’s Knights of Columbus hand out cheques to a slew of deserving organizations in an online event Nov. 8, 2020. (Submitted)
Duncan Knights of Columbus hand cheques to lucky 13 in virtual event

Another historic first for the Knights was to have two area mayors join the presentation

Changes to the holidays due to COVID-19 will be a challenge for people with dementia. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Webinars aim to help those with dementia approach holidays

“The holidays can present difficulties for people living with dementia for a multitude of reasons”

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Most Read