Councillors are still meeting remotely due to COVID-19. (File Photo)

Councillors are still meeting remotely due to COVID-19. (File Photo)

COUNCIL BRIEFS: Quesnel looking for $450K grant to support homeless population

Council also approved a lease at the airport, expanded outdoor dining area

The Quesnel city council meeting on April 6, moved quickly, as councillors found little to disagree with on the agenda.

FORESTRY INTERNSHIP

The city has secured an internship to help support the forestry sector in Quesnel. Forestry Initiatives Program manager Erin Robinson explained to council the intern is a PhD student at UBC.

Adinda Herdianti will be working to research innovations in forestry in the area. Herdianti was one of the students who visited Quesnel last October.

“Findings from (Herdianti’s) work will become an important foundation for future research in Quesnel,” Robinson’s report reads. “Results will be used to identify points of leverage to achieve resilient and inclusive forest industries.”

The report says the end goal is to build a road map of collective actions to improve forestry in Quesnel.

READ MORE: UBC students, researchers and faculty visit Quesnel to learn about forestry

GRANT APPLICATION

Council approved applying for a $450,000 Union of British Columbia Municipalities grant aimed at supporting the homeless population.

Funding from the grant would be used to build a mobile laundry, shower and washroom, locker units, two new outhouses in the community, and a day labour program among other things. The programs will be managed by a coordinator funded through the grant.

“(This grant) aims to support unsheltered homeless populations and address related community impacts through an application-based program,” a council report reads. “This program is meant to bridge the period between the COVID-019 outbreak and the post-COVID recovery period.”

The full cost of the program would be covered by this grant, which will end after one year.

“The timing of this grant if we get it is really good for our community,” Coun. Laurey-Anne Roodenburg said. “It’s a stop-gap for things we’re feeling the pinch in.”

Coun. Mitch Vik echoed Roodenburg’s comments, noting Quesnel’s Downtown Business Association was planning on sending a letter in support of the application.

“Anything to help alleviate some of the critical social issues we’re having, I really think this is going to help,” he said.

The application passed unanimously.

AIRPORT LEASE

In addition to approving the lease for a coffee shop on the upper floor of Shiraoi House, council also approved leasing office space to Bailey Helicopters at the airport operations building.

READ MORE: Coffee shop approved for Shiraoi House upper floor

While the space and revenue generated from the lease is small, council is eager to get more businesses operating inside the airport.

“There is considerable benefit to the airport that will be realized as a result of having Bailey Helicopters base their operations at the airport as it will generate additional air traffic movement and fuel sales,” the city’s report reads.

READ MORE: Council trying to attract airlines back to Quesnel

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA

Council received the results of a reverse petition to extend the South Quesnel Business Improvement Area. Only 1.7 per cent of assessed properties wrote against extending the area bylaw for two years. Dragon Lake Veterinary Hospital, KTG Industries and Jaws Enterprises wrote against extending the bylaw.

Ken Zwiers of KTG Industries and Ginger Langan of the veterinary hospital noted in their letters they do not feel the business association provides them any benefits.

“The South Quesnel Business Association has some work to do to align itself and its activities with the intentions of these business improvement areas,” Mayor Bob Simpson said. “We’ll be working hard with them particularly on the front end, as they do a little bit of a reset.”

Simpson added city staff have already begun meeting with the association to help change their direction.

OUTDOOR CAFE BYLAW

Council completed all three readings of a bylaw which expanded the area where outdoor cafés are allowed. The owner of the Begbie’s Restaurant and Pub on Reid street made the request so they could still host people under the new provincial public health orders.

An order enacted on March 29 bans all indoor dining to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“I think the more the merrier,” Simpson said, noting other restaurants on Reid street have moved outside.

City staff allowed Begbie’s to begin hosting tables outside before the bylaw was officially in the books.

READ MORE: B.C. stops indoor dining, fitness, religious service due to COVID-19 spike

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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