Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update to the COVID-19 situation on March 31. (Screenshot/ Facebook City of Victoria – local government).

Victoria to reassess 2020 budget in light of COVID-19; more hotel rooms found for the homeless

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update on municipal measures on March 31

Victoria will look into its annual budget to reassess spending in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was one element of information provided by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps on March 31, during her daily update to residents on municipal, provincial and federal efforts against the virus.

City councillors pored over the budget for more than 80 hours, Helps said, but in light of current events the $243 million budget for 2020 will need to be reassessed beginning in April.

“We’ll have to look at what will simply not happen this year as a result of COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “We’ll start with that and see how much that will add up to and then need to make some more decisions.”

ALSO READ: Nanaimo dentists donate 4,000 masks, 25,000 gloves to health-care peers

Helps speculated that there will be differences in the millions of projects being re-prioritized.

Helps also implored the public to listen to the provincial health officer about grocery store etiquette, and to leave reusable bags at home.

“For all those diligent shoppers who like to bring their own shopping bags… unfortunately we’re going to have to ask you to leave your own bags for home for now,” Helps said. “We are working on reinstating our plastic bag bylaw with the province, but that will have to wait until this passes.”

Grocery stores are also prohibiting people form bringing reusable containers for items like bulk food.

Helps also announced that, in partnership with BC Housing, an additional 40 hotel rooms were found to house vulnerable people of Victoria’s homeless population so that they can practise self isolation, bringing the total number of rooms to 115.

Helps discussed how, despite Victoria having the largest population of people who are homeless in the region, many come from across the Capital Region District, meaning that the province should begin seeking out temporary shelters in recreation and community centres across Greater Victoria.

ALSO READ: Island Health to use Saanich recreation centre to support pandemic needs

“All of our community centres are providing childcare, those are essential services, so we are running out of options,” she said, noting that this was the reason the City is converting parks into temporary shelter sites rather than somewhere indoors. “I really do think we need to take a regional approach and I hope the province and BC Housing will look into it.”

Helps also is reminding cyclists to practise social distancing after receiving some communications from residents about issues on the Galloping Goose Trail. Helps added that even on bike lanes, now is a time to wait for others to pass and provide them room for proper social distancing.

News from the federal government:

On Monday, March 30 the Capital Regional District learned it would receive $1.3 million in funding to help the homeless through the Reaching Home program. This funding will include $917,880 through the Reaching Home Designated Communities program and $394,972 through the Reaching Home Indigenous Homelessness program.

On Tuesday morning (March 31) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $2 billion budget for three manufacturing companies to create more medical supplies for health care practitioners.

READ MORE: Canada to spend $2B more on procuring medical supplies for COVID-19 fight

News from the provincial government:

The provincial government has promised more childcare services for essential care workers with pre-school aged children. In an announcement on March 31, the province announced that B.C. licensed child care providers can get up to seven times base funding for stepping up to provide service to parents of pre-school children on the front lines of the COVID-19 emergency effort.

READ MORE: COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

The B.C. government opened a new application system March 31 for parents in essential service roles seeking urgent child care for children five and under. Priority roles are health services, social services, law enforcement, first responders and emergency response. Applications can be found at at gov.bc.ca/essential-service-child-care or calling 1-888-338-6622 and selecting “option four”.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that B.C. has surpassed 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a total of 1,013. There have been five more deaths, bringing the total up to 24. There were zero new cases reported on Vancouver Island, with the total still at 67.

– With files from Katya Slepian and Tom Fletcher

City of VictoriaCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

‘Seven baths in two days’: Homeless adjusting to life in hotels

Victoria passes motion to allow camping 24-7 in parks until June 25

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

Victoria traffic stop yields drugs, case full of weapons

Police seize firearms, swords and flares

Colwood hosts pandemic recovery roundtable discussion

Attendees must RSVP for virtual meeting on May 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read