According to a report by City of Quesnel staff, the full financial and operational impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have on the North Cariboo Recreation and Parks (NCRP) services and its budget are unknown at this time.
The report was presented by City of Quesnel Director of community services Jeff Norburn during a North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee meeting on May 19.
“The reality is that the full impact of COVID-19 financially is really not known at this time none of us really know how long this will last and what it will look like coming out of it,” said Norburn.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the NCRP implemented the following reductions in service:
- Virtually all North Cariboo Recreation and Parks facilities were closed to the public in mid March, including the West Fraser Centre, Arena 2, the Arts and Recreation Centre, Barlow Creek Hall, Bouchie Lake Hall, Parkland Community Centre, Alex Fraser Park, and the Indoor Soccer Facility; all of which remain closed at this time.
- All Leisure Services Department programs were cancelled to the end of August 2020.
- All North Cariboo Recreation and Parks major events were cancelled unit at least the end of August 2020.
- Rental bookings have been cancelled and no new bookings are being taken for the use of fields, schools, or other facilities.
- According to the report, facility closures and the cancellation of programs has had a “significant negative impact” on revenues, however should the facilities and remain closed and programs stay on hold beyond June 15 a surplus of the NCRP budget will be a “likely result” as expenditure savings will exceed lost revenue.
“Eventually it will reach a point where we are actually saving more money because the service is not a cost recovery it actually costs money to operate so the longer we are closed the more money we will save for the North Cariboo Recreation and Parks services, the flip side of that is people won’t be able to utilize the services that they expect in the community,”said Norburn.
The report states that the NCRP is waiting on recommendations and guidelines for the recreation sector that have been approved by the Public Health Officer before moving forward with opening facilities.
Read the full story in next weeks Observer.